As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. Mark 5:36 KJV
The phrase is often repeated, “Don’t give up hope!” or “There’s always hope!”, as if hope is something independent of our circumstances. But hope never walks alone. Hope is always accompanied by her sister faith and faith links hands with love. Jesus doesn’t just say ,”Keep on hoping!” He walks with us and his presence by our side gives us the faith to be greater than our fears. How wonderful it has been to share this week with our grandchildren as my wife awaits chemotherapy. There simply being with us has helped us have faith to believe greater things and put fears outside the doors.
So this Sunday morning ask yourself if there isn’t someone you could walk beside in faith. Just your faithful presence may be what God will use to hold hands with hope and help them on their journey.
31 Days of Hope Day 12
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NKJV
These days as I have sat for hours in the hospital or doctor’s office with my wife I have felt anything but strong; and not courageous at all. I have felt overwhelmed, weak and alone. We often look to the Bible character of Joshua as a tremendous example of courage but I wonder if as Joshua was mourning the loss of his friend and mentor Moses if he felt alone/ I wonder if as he faced the daunting task of leading a million or more of the children of Israel into the promised land if he felt weak at the knees. Could Joshua have felt afraid? I believe he did! What other reason would God have come and commanded him not once, not twice but three times to be strong and courageous?
If like me, you are facing life changing events that are out of your control then know that we have hope this morning not in our own bravery and muscular faith, but in God’s unfailing strength and His promise to be with us. We can draw courage from the eternal and unshakable promise that the enemies we face are no match for our God! He is not at all surprised by our weakness. He is not impatient with our faltering steps. But like a good father teaching His child to walk in faith He stretches out His arms today and calls. Take another step! You can do it! Be strong and be very courageous: I will be with you!!
But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ 1 Corinthians 15:57 ESV
For residents in a nursing home life can sometimes feel like a place of total defeat. You can see it in the stooped shoulders or hear it in the angry reactions to small annoyances. In our own home as we are passing through my wife’s battle with cancer I am finding myself facing the same struggles. I feel like a rowboat caught in the tidal wave of serious illness and family turmoil. That is exactly the situation which the disciples faced as the accompanied Jesus to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus had asked them to pray with him for one hour; but the Bible tells us that
And when He rose from prayer He came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow. Luke 22:45
They were overcome by sorrow, but not their master. Jesus had prayed till His sweat fell like drops of blood. Jesus had continued interceding even when they felt defeated. In the same way He is interceding in heaven for you and I today. Neither our sorrow nor our despair will cause Him to abandon us. He will come and awaken us. He will carry our burdens. He chose in that dark garden to pay the full price for our sin to give us hope. It is that hope which lies behind the cry:
O Grave where is your victory? Death where is your sting? 1 Corinthians 15:55
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses Matthew 8:17
If we think that God is so intimately concerned with our physical needs that He has counted even the number of hairs on our head. We have a great hope that whether in this life or in the next; God will heal every disease, restore all that is broken and renew our youth like the eagles!
Whether sitting in a wheel chair in a nursing home or confined to a bed with a tracheotomy tube in order to breathe, Jesus offers the hope of complete and entire healing as one part of His promise of eternal life. That promise may be overlooked or forgotten by we who are in perfect health, yet God does not forget. The same Jesus who was moved with compassion for lepers, the blind and the lame has promised to wipe every tear from our eyes. He not only has compassion for our aches, pains and disabilities but the Bible tells us that He took all of these onto his shoulders and carried them. If we continue reading in the chapter of Isaiah that Matthew quotes we see that in the very next verse that it is by His stripes that we are healed. God is so very concerned for every one of our pains and infirmities that He allowed a whip to fall across the shoulders of Jesus. As He was wounded again and again we were being healed. Weak arms will be lifted, failing voices will sing again and deaf ears will hear the shepherd’s voice! Yes we have the hope of healing! When the temporary things of earth have passed we will stand strong and eternally young in the presence of our ageless King!