Where do you find hope?

According to analysts, yesterday was Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year.  A variety of factors converge making the misery scale peak.  The holidays are over, your pants are too tight,  you had to go back to work, it’s really cold, you probably spent too much on Christmas, your new years resolution is in the dumpster and if your marriage is struggling, it is the most popular day of the year to start divorce proceedings.  That is depressing.  Now, whether or not you felt the malaise of Blue Monday, we can all get down sometimes.  There is a struggle built into the fabric of a fallen world (Genesis 3:17-19).  And, if you want to make change in your life, rest assured, you will have to fight for it.  That is why hope is such a necessity.  It enables us to rise up one more time and try again. Divorce proceedings skyrocket on Blue Monday because hope has been lost.  Resolutions get tossed because we decide “I just can’t do it.”  Hope is essential to life.

Proverbs 13:12 says “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”  Pretty amazing.  If we bury hope, we get a sick heart.  In modern terms, that means when hope is lost, Blue Monday hits.  But….if we let hope rise….if we press on with expectation, a longing can be fulfilled.  A desire can be met.  A change can be made.  A relationship can be restored.  Maybe, your pants will even fit.  So, where do you find hope?

I think that God gives hope in lots of ways.   I’d like to tell you where I found it a few weeks ago.  There were a number of things weighing heavily on my mind, things that I knew needed God’s intervention.  I couldn’t make them happen.  So, I gathered my wife and two kids and we read the Bible together.  Specifically, we read James 4:1-10.  It is an incredible passage on prayer and when God says “yes” and when he says “no”.  My favorite statement is verse 2  “…You do not have because you do not ask God.”  We talked about what this meant and were blown away by the reality that there are things that God wants to do in our lives, but he doesn’t because we have simply not asked.  I can’t even count how many times that I have said to my kids “Why didn’t you ask me?  I would have helped.”  Our Heavenly Father says the same thing.  We decided that we didn’t want to bypass God’s blessings.

Together, we assembled a list of significant needs for each member of the family and committed to praying.  Now, it’s not as if we had never prayed for each other before, but this was different.  We were inspired by the promises of God’s Word and the prayers of one another.  We were driving a stake in the ground and declaring that we would not miss out on God’s best because we did not ask.  I went to bed that night filled with anticipation and hope.  I knew that God was going to answer these prayers and I couldn’t wait to see how he would do it.  Hope.  Within a week, we gathered as a family to praise God and cross several big prayers off the list.  God is at work.  God is our hope.  God is planting a tree of life in our yard and he wants to do the same for you.  It begins with hope.

Where do you find hope?  I’d love for you to let me know where you have found hope recently.  Leave me a comment.  If you are struggling to find it, start where we did with the promises of God and prayer.

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