Hope Made all the Difference
by Lyn Ruth
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¡°My soul faints with longing for your salvation but I have put my HOPE in Your word.¡±
Psalm 119:81 NIV
Andrew was a vibrant schoolboy. He was active in sports and his scholastic records were excellent. One day, Andrew went home sick. Later that day, he was convulsing so he was rushed to the hospital. After a series of tests, Andrew was diagnosed with a grain-sized tumor in the brain situated at the pituitary gland. Tough luck! The pituitary gland is the master gland that provides hormones for the body to function properly. At 14, he could have decided to be bitter about life. But he did not play the blame game. Instead, he declared that, ¡°the big C is not cancer, the big C is Christ¡±! What an inspiring statement from a young boy! There should be more Andrews in this world.
However, today the world is full of people who are hopelessly trying to find answers to their problems. Some resort to drugs, others alcohol, while a few commit heinous crimes. Dr. Victor Frankl, a holocaust survivor, aptly explains it this way: ¡°The reason so many people are unhappy today and seeking help to cope with life is that they fail to understand what human existence is all about. Until we recognize that life is not just something to be enjoyed, but rather is a task that each of us is assigned we¡¯ll never find meaning in our lives and never truly be happy.¡±
It is therefore essential to define one¡¯s role in life. Anybody who has attained success in his or her endeavor knows that the path to glory is oftentimes rugged. There will be times of pain and sorrow. But how a person faces these times reveal one¡¯s strength and character.
The key factor is HOPE. Hope is more than a feeling. It is a desire, an expectation of obtaining something, a belief that no matter how fierce the storms of life may be, a rainbow would always appear at the end. This is a power that comes only from God.
Such power can only be attained when a person makes a decision to give his or her life to God Almighty who has absolute control over every human being. In fact, He alone has absolute control over everything on earth! Read John 3:16 again and grasp the power of God¡¯s unconditional love. The Word of God is so encouraging. He tells us to lift our burdens to Him. He promises that never would He leave us nor forsake us.
The apostle Paul believed in God¡¯s promises. He gave a full account of his trials, persecutions, and sufferings in second Corinthians 11:23-29. This was the same apostle who, while being tortured in prison, wrote these verses in Philippians 4:4-5: ¡°Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all¡±.
A person who has hope in the Lord manifests the following:
• Love: When there is love, there is tolerance, patience, forgiveness, and understanding. Love also makes possible the seemingly impossible.
• Joy: There is a saying that goes, ¡°joy is when you like yourself¡±. Joy is contentment and satisfaction even during difficult circumstances. It sets life in full color so that everything is beautiful.
• Peace: Peace is the absence of inner conflict. It releases one¡¯s mind from worries, tensions, and anxieties. A person with peace has the ability to remain tranquil in the midst of chaos, confusion, and panic.
• Grace: This is self-denial and humility; being gentle but firm; maintaining one¡¯s dignity; and knowing how to accept constructive criticisms while ignoring destructive or malicious comments.
• Freedom: Freedom and courage co-exist. A person with freedom is not constrained by social pressures and expectations but does only what is right. It takes courage to say ¡°no¡± to something that is wrong but which might be popularly accepted by society as ¡°part of life¡± or as ¡°part of growing up¡±.
Hope, like faith, believes in things not yet seen. Hope gives a very optimistic attitude in life. It believes that there is a solution to every problem and that even if the solution is not immediately apparent, hope knows that there is a better alternative or that there is another way. Hope is giving without expecting anything in return. It makes the best of what there is today. In other words, hope makes it clear that world standards should not be a person¡¯s yardstick of whether one ought to be happy, contented or not. As John Maxwell, author of books on leadership, declared, ¡°Our challenge is to think right in a wrong world. Our challenge is to think positive in a negative world¡±.
Life is a series of ups and downs that is why it is exciting. But with hope manifested in one¡¯s feelings, perceptions, words, and actions, faith in God increases. It enhances a person¡¯s spiritual life because hope is the line that connects people to God. Then joy and love are exuded to people around. It is like spreading sunshine everywhere. This can be very contagious! And this is the very essence of living. After all, it is comforting to know that with God, nothing in this world is permanent including those dreary, low times.
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This is wonderfully written, with excellent messages and an engaging writing style. Thank you so much for sharing it!