As my months in Colorado wind to an end, I realize that I’ve been challenged on many levels. Something that has been a great encouragement to me has been weekly meetings with Ladies from the congregation I’ve been attending. They had just started a study on the book of Colossians when I joined them, at which point they began a word study into the use and meaning of the word “hope,” in particular as it is used in the New Testament. Interestingly, the Elders of the congregation were, at the same time, winding up a study in Genesis, and then starting a new study on the Book of Colossians!
I have learned so much… in particular, how important it is to have our hope focused on the right things. And the only way to do that, is to be secure in the Word of God… one of the verses we looked at put it this way…
“Accordingly God also, in His desire to show more convincingly and beyond doubt to those who were to inherit the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose and plan, intervened (mediated) with an oath. This was so that, by two unchangeable things [His promise and His oath] in which it is impossible for God ever to prove false or deceive us, we who have fled [to Him] for refuge might have mighty indwelling strength and strong encouragement to grasp and hold fast the hope appointed for us and set before [us]. [Now] we have this [hope] as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whoever steps out upon it-a hope] that reaches farther and enters into [the very certainty of the Presence] within the veil,Where Jesus has entered in for us [in advance], a Forerunner having become a High Priest forever after the order (with the rank) of Melchizedek.”
(Hebrews 6:17-20 Amplified Bible)
This verse is full of so much… but what I have been reminded of over and over these past months, is that my hope in God is based on two things: His promises and His oath (which is based in His character). If I hope in anything that is not founded on who God is and what He has said, then what hope do I have? One that will disappoint me. But if my hope is in HIM, I have an anchor that holds me secure through any storm.
As different situations have arisen, I see so clearly that so much in this world sets out to do one thing. Challenge my hope. When I started this blog, I chose the name “Hope-Challenged” for several reasons.
- In the beginning, it was with the naive thought that I had overcome; all challenges to my hope had been defeated, and so I wanted to encourage others to hope. The tag-line, back then, was, “From someone who was there…” For God had granted me the deepest desire of my heart, to be married to someone who loved God and loved me. I was not disappointed.
- But life kept getting in the way. Little things picking at me here and there… and I realized that its hard to be upbeat all the time, because things happen. In other ways, I felt like my hope was being challenged on a deeper level. So, some time before Rich died, I changed the tag-line to: From Someone who IS there.
- Then Rich had his stroke and went to be with His savior. I didn’t care about tag lines. But I many friends and family members wanted to be kept updated. Some friends were overseas… and so I began sharing what was happening. Through that time, I knew God was carrying me in a way that is beyond explanation. He is still carrying me… but O how I felt it then.
- With Rich gone, every day of life had and has to be faced. So many issues and situations. And so many decisions. At every angle I turned, my hope was challenged, close to the breaking point it seemed… and then we began the word study on hope, and I began to realize that my hope is not here on this earth, but in heaven, where my savior reigns… and in His word… and so I began to realize that the name of my blog was correct, but the tag line was all wrong. You see, all of us will find our hope challenged at some time or another. Life happens. The question is, how do we handle it? Do we lose hope? Do we refuse to hope (as I once did so many years ago)? Do we try not to hope, but keep on hoping, finding ourselves continually disappointed? Or Do we face the challenge, sink anchor in God’s word and keep on hoping because we KNOW that God is faithful and true, and utterly reliable?
So, as we finished up our study on Hope, I decided to change the tag-line of this blog. Will I still have struggles? Of course, I am after all, only human. But my goal, is that no matter what, that I will face each situation ANCHORED in God’s word, keeping my eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith.
I hope and pray that this new tag-line will be a positive challenge to me and you, to keep my eyes on Him, and when I forget, a reminder to get them back on Him.
P.S. A special thanks to all the ladies in the group who brainstormed with me for the new tag-line.