Looking for HOPE

I sat at the breakfast table as a guest watching the morning routine. I know these people pretty well. They raised me to be who I am (well, not always, but at least in the ways that are worth admiring). As I sat there my mother brought a stack of reading material and placed it on the table. It was various devotional materials that my parents use every morning at breakfast. My dad’s eyes don’t work so great in the morning, so my mom reads the devotionals.

So, I was an observer to this morning ritual but also a beneficiary of it. I was blessed by the words I heard and even challenged in my thinking in a positive way – I LOVE being challenged in how I see my life in Christ. But, the biggest benefit was watching a life lived well in front of my eyes. Was I surprised? No. I have seen this played out all my life. But how good it is to see a strong marriage focused on a life in God together. I mean, what we see on TV and in the magazines doesn’t promote such things. The stories of affairs and break-ups rule the day. The point is, if you look for hope, signs of hope, they can be found.

I think about my daughter’s boyfriend’s great-grandparents. She just spent the weekend with his family as they celebrated the Great-grandfather’s 100th birthday along with their 79th wedding anniversary. Do you want a news story worth reading? Check out this one which celebrates this couple’s long-lasting bond: (Couple Beats the Odds).

I am glad my daughter has a chance to observe a couple who has held strong for 79 years. 79. That is a LONG time. It can be done. It can be done and it can be good. If we look for signs of hope we can find them. And look for them we should.

Is this post just about marriage? No. I think those two examples are just ones that hit me this past week. So much air time and blog space and magazine article verbiage is given to the downturn in marriage statistics, so we may begin to feel a little hopeless about relationships. But there are examples of hope to be seen if we look. The same is true for other issues we face in the world. There is great division and animosity in our world these days. If we pay attention only to what the media shows us, hope is not the word that comes to mind. We need to look elsewhere to find signs of hope.

Where do we find such signs of hope in the world? Well, it should be among the people of God. The followers of Jesus ought to be the ones living lives of joy and peace even in the midst of their differences. The statistics of marriages within the church ought to be the strongest rather than similar to those in the greater culture. In every way, the people of God should be the ones living life that makes others have to stop and think, “Hmm, maybe it is possible to live and love and serve with kindness and gentleness and deep values.”

In many ways, I already see this as true. I see people in small groups who differ in their political opinions, but love each other. I talk to people who are wanting to and willing to work through their marriage struggles. They don’t want to take what the culture around us says is the “easy” way out. And even when people face circumstances they would rather not deal with – a marriage that ends in ways beyond their control, or elections not going the way they think is best – even in those times, I find there are people willing to live in an attitude of peace and gentleness. And to me, those are all signs of hope.

Bottom line for me is this: the world needs to see more signs of hope. So much of what we face these days and what gets talked about lends itself to a feeling of hopelessness and despair. Those of us who follow Jesus know there is still hope to be found, and a positive life can still be found even in the midst of tough times.

My prayer is that we will become and we will be people of unbridled hope.

Holy high-five to you,
Mike

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