After my prolonged struggle with illness, my body is finally starting to heal!
I feel like the flowers in my yard that are stubbornly pushing their way through the semi-frozen ground. Against all odds, they are blooming, and so will I. Of that, I have hope.
Hope is an important concept. I don't think I understood how important until I lost sight of it while I was sick. And since the Bible calls God the "God of all hope," I now believe hope results from knowing God and having confidence in Him. Therefore, if we lose trust in God, we lose hope and vice versa. But what exactly is hope?
I've been listening to a pastor named Steve Backland from Bethel Church. He defines hope as the confident, joyful expectation that good is coming, an optimistic view of the future based on the goodness and promises of God. He also says any area of your life that doesn't "glisten with hope means you are believing a lie."
That got my attention. I don't think I have any area of my life that "glistens with hope." I have places where I worry less, and some I've decided not to think about at all, but I don't have any I'd define as "glistening." But I believe he's right because God is "the God of ALL hope" (emphasis mine). I'm sure His thoughts sparkle with life and joy. After all, He knows the outcome to all this mess in our world will be life and restoration even COVID and Ukraine. He says His plans are good and that evil will never triumph over His Omnipotent love.
Many believers have lost confidence in God over the past couple of years. We still believe He will get us to heaven, but we've lost hope for anything good happening in this world.
I tried to talk about the promises of God to a group of grumblers yesterday, and they were not receptive. I get it. The bad stuff is far more attention-grabbing than those old, dusty promises that our loving God will bring good from the worst situations.
When I was sick, I found myself drawn to talking about how much I felt like a moth to a flame. There is something about talking about miserable situations that feel as exciting as a battery on the tongue.
But if we are not stirring up hope, we are not doing ourselves or anyone else any favors. Take it from someone who recently felt hopeless; it's not a place you want to be.
I've compiled a shortlist of promises designed to make your thoughts glisten: "Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress; I will not be shaken."
"We have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe."
"And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast."
"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint."
That last one has been a lifeline for me. I have confidence the Lord will renew my strength. Actually, that hope does glisten! I am growing in hope! I entreat you to begin feeding on truth and grow in hope, as well. In closing, I pray Romans 15:13, over you all, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
• Cris Corzine-McCloskey is a licensed clinical social worker and director of Caring Counseling Ministries in Marion, a nonprofit that provides counseling from a Biblical perspective at an affordable cost. To make an appointment, call (618) 997-2129.