The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2 (NIV)
I have been thinking a lot about hope lately. Of course, it is the latest buzz word as our President talks about it frequently. Rumor has it, he will even name the family’s new dog, set to arrive on Tuesday, Hope. I wish he wouldn’t. The dog already has a name, Charlie. More suited to a dog, I think. You see, hope is a precious thing, and hard to find in these days of economic upheaval and uncertainty. Everywhere I go, people are anxious and afraid. The other day, I was having a conversation with God about it all. Actually, I was doing most of the talking and trusting that He was listening. Finally, spent, I said, “What is it you want me to do about it all?” I clearly heard, not in an audible voice, but in my heart, “Share hope.” Our president has been saying the same thing, but I was not listening to him because his brand of hope doesn’t mesh with mine. When God tells me to share hope, I listen. So, I have been trying, a little here, a little there, to plant seeds of hope among those I encounter each day. I tell you, it is a hard sell among those who have no faith in God. If you don’t believe some fundamental things about God that He is in control, He loves us, He has a plan for each of us, and He desires a relationship with us, then, there is little good to be found. My dictionary gives one definition of hope as “The theological virtue defined as the desire and search for a future good, difficult but not impossible to attain with God’s help.” There is the key to having hope: attainable with God’s help. You have to start with God first. One guy I talked to and tried to share hope with countered back, “You don’t really believe all that stuff do you?” When I said yes, he just turned and walked away. I wondered, how does he even get up in the morning without a belief in God? Tomorrow, I am teaching Sunday School again. We are focusing on Isaiah 9. It is a perfect tie to Easter. I have to stop and buy some newspapers in the morning because as part of the lesson, I’ll ask the class to choose a news article about someone in trouble and discuss how they would share hope with that person. Not in the form of programs or money, but real, life changing hope. I’ll tell them the story of the Fresnel lens. It consists of many small prisms of glass and can reflect the beam inside a lighthouse for many miles out to sea. When even one piece of glass is missing, the lighthouse is not as effective in its mission to save the lost. The light of Christ is within us. Together, we can share the true message of hope. He is risen! He is risen indeed! Happy Easter!