Welcome to this series, Hope in Crisis. I’m Brian Stiller.
Today we discover the power of hope.
Here is the video that you can watch or listen to. Or below is the copy.
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As we hear of
– the mounting numbers of virus cases
– the unbelievable increase in the numbers of those who have died
– the roller coaster of our investments
– the social trauma caused by being physically sequestered
– the fear of running out of cash to keep our children fed
our hearts are put on hold, as we decide what needs doing now and today.
As bad as it is for us now, let me take you back 7 decades to a Jew in a concentration camp at Auschwitz Poland, where he was living on the edge of life and death. He was a psychiatrist. His name was Viktor Frankl. As he observed those who died and those who lived, he made a remarkable observation. It was this: those who survived, it was not based on how strong or weak they were physically, but on the strength of their life purpose.
His book Man’s Search for Meaning outlines how he discovered this fundamental aspect of the human character and condition. He said that as we get a clear focus on the “why” of life, we can then work out the “how” of life.
He said: “Man can preserve a vestige of spiritual freedom, or independence of mind, even in terrible conditions of psychic and physical stress.”
He lost his family, but that loss helped him focus on the purpose of his life, and that purpose was to help others find the purpose of their own lives.
Hope in the human heart gives us the space we need to allow purpose to rule. It becomes a single motivator to move us from the crushing weight of my circumstance to his will for my life. King David wrote, “The needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted people ever perish.”
Hope, for a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, means one is not alone, or that our aspirations are simply an extension of our self-interest. What is especially unique and critically important in this conversation is to know that this framing of my life by hope is linked to the heart and purposes of God.
To put it another way, I’m not alone. I don’t define my purpose in life as a human molecule, bumping around in a cosmos of haphazard occurrences or meaningless adventures. Not only am I his, by creation, but I am joined by him as I live. As I noted, the psalmist said, “the hope of the afflicted people” goes somewhere. It becomes something. It is not forgotten or left on its own. There is a link between that for which I hope and the God in whom my hope is based.
There is power in hope. I’m not saying that there is some magical prayer that will unleash the powers of creation and solve your problem or eradicate this virus. What I am saying is that today, now, here, where you are, the God of creation, within this universe, individualizes his attention. You and I become the focus of that attention.
The power of hope comes alive as we open our eyes to see he is here, and he is not silent, he is working on our behalf, he is not inactive.
Let me illustrate.
There was a prophet during Old Testament times who was surrounded by an enemy army. His assistant, frightened cried out, “Master, we are surrounded.” The prophet prayed, “Lord, please open his eyes.” In that moment the servant saw beyond the enemy army, another army closing in, to rescue him and the prophet.
– Hope helps me see what God has in mind.
– Hope enables my fatigued mind to see more than just my obvious circumstances.
– Hope is an eye opener to see that he is here, to listen to his voice, realizing that he is not silent.
– Hope generates trust and confidence that he is here for me, today and tomorrow.
The apostle Peter in writing to early Christians, many trapped by the military and oppressed by those opposed to the message of Jesus, wrote this:
“In his great mercy, he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into our inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade, kept in heaven for you…”1 Peter 1:3-5
Hope is not that which we fabricate to give us security or to make us optimistic, rather it links us into the mind and will of the Father.
My prayer for us all comes from the Apostle Paul, writing to the church at Rome: 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.
Hope in Crisis #3
Brian C. Stiller, Global Ambassador
The World Evangelical Alliance
Author: Brian Stiller