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Taking Hope to the Next Level, Part 3

02.05.18 | Victorious Living | by Doreen Comis

Taking Hope to the Next Level, Part 3

    Biblical Hope isn’t grounded in the finite – it is grounded in the eternal. It is a HOPE that sees from God’s perspective. It understands that God can see far beyond what I can see. It is a HOPE that knows that a loving God is always in control.

    We may not understand this side of heaven why we do not receive some of the things we hoped for in this life, but a HOPE whose trust is in the Lord knows that God sees beyond what we could see. Perhaps what we’re hoping for will bring us harm that we cannot foresee.

    A minister from London - was preparing to leave his country to speak at a six-day convention which was to be held at Carnegie Hall in America. His departure to speak at the Christian Conservation Congress was suddenly interrupted by his wife getting seriously ill. Working through his disappointment, Rev. J. Stuart Holden postponed his trip to stay at his wife’s side. He returned his ticket, but retained the envelope in which it has been delivered. He had the envelope framed.

    Days later, in gratitude to God, Rev. J. Stuart Holden penned in his own hand on the matte within the frame, an expression of faith and thanksgiving from Psalm 103, verse 3, “WHO REDEEMETH THY LIFE FROM DESTRUCTION.”

    The phrase not only spoke for Rev. Holden, but represented the unspoken thanks for all who, for one reason or another, were not aboard the RMS Titanic when she departed Queenstown on Thursday, April 11, 1912. 

    Rev. Holden was not the only clergyman planning to attend the Christian Congress who did not sail from England aboard Titanic. According to an article in The New York Times April 20, 1912, two other European speakers who had been invited to speak at the convocation also canceled their passages aboard Titanic maiden voyage when forced by circumstances to change their plans to the six-day evangelical rally: Archbishop Thomas J. Madden, of Liverpool, and the Rev. J.S. Wardell Stafford, Fraternal Delegate of the Wesleyan Church of Great Britain.

    Church, a loving God is always in control!

    Sometimes God has something far greater in store for us than that which we believe Him for, even when that something is healing.

    Mary and Martha wanted Jesus to heal Lazarus, but He had resurrection in mind. They were praying for healing but received resurrection instead. Lazarus was a type and shadow of things to come. Even death has no power over those whose hope is in Christ!   “Oh death, where is thy sting!” Having HOPE in the resurrection will comfort you when you grieve the loss of a loved one. It is a HOPE that knows a loving God is always in control.

    God's "No" is not rejection, but a redirection…

    God's "No" to one thing is a "YES" to another…

    God's "No" is not punishment, it is preparation

    Remember these words in Romans 5:2a-5:

    "And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”

    As we journey through this life we must always remember that God is preparing us to be His Son's bride. We will one day reign with Him; we must be made into a bride worthy of our position. He develops perseverance, character, and hope as we trust Him with our lives and situations, in and through prayer. Never forget – a loving God is in control!

    In the late 1960's, while expecting their third child, Christian songwriters, Bill and Gloria Gaither were going through a traumatic time in their lives.  The song Because He Lives came out of their personal bout with darkness. Take a look at the lyrics of this famous hymn:

    God sent His Son, they called Him Jesus,
    He came to love, heal, and forgive;
    He lived and died to buy my pardon,
    An empty grave is there to prove
    my Savior lives.

    Because He lives I can face tomorrow,
    Because He lives all fear is gone;
    Because I know He holds the future.
    And life is worth the living just because He lives.

    How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
    And feel the pride, and joy He gives;
    But greater still the calm assurance,
    This child can face uncertain days because He lives.

    And then one day I'll cross the river,
    I'll fight life's final war with pain;
    And then as death gives way to victory,
    I'll see the lights of glory and I'll know he lives.

     

     Gloria Gaither wrote these words about writing this hymn:

           I am a wife and a mother. It was in the middle of the upheaval in the sixties that we were expecting our third baby. The drug culture was in full swing, existential thought had obviously saturated every area of our American thought, the cities were seething with racial tension, and the God-is-dead pronouncement had giggled its way all through our educational system.

           On the personal front, Bill and I were going through one of the most difficult times in our lives. Bill had been discouraged and physically exhausted by a bout with mononucleosis, and in that weakened condition had little reserve to fight the psychological battle brought on by some external family problems. Someone whom we had cared about a great deal had hurled some accusations at us and at the Fellowship of Believers and at the whole idea of the existence of God.

           It was on New Year’s Eve that I sat alone in the darkness and quiet of our living room, thinking about the world and our country and Bill’s discouragement and the family problems—and about our baby yet unborn. Who in their right mind would bring a child into a world like this? I thought. The world is so evil. Influences beyond our control are so strong. What will happen to this child?

           I can’t quite explain what happened at that moment, but suddenly I felt released from it all. The panic that had begun to build inside was gently dispelled by a reassuring presence that engulfed my life and drew my attention.

           Gradually, the fear left and the joy began to return. I knew I could have that baby and face the future with optimism and trust. It was the Resurrection affirming itself in our lives once again. It was LIFE conquering death in the regularity of my day.  - Gloria Gaither

    Church, anchor your HOPE in Jesus Christ – His life, death, and resurrection are all the comfort and assurance that you need to know a loving God is in control of your life. Have HOPE in Him - because He Lives! That’s taking your hope to the Next Level.

    Check back next week as we continue our study.