Honestly, it’s been a rough month or so. It seems like I have been on a bad roller coaster ride. It started off exciting! I was in Maine, enjoying vacation time, visiting with friends and relatives, attending church camp meetings; life was wonderful! Then the drop … the phone call I never wanted to receive. My brother calling with bad news: “I have been diagnosed with cancer and probably only have six months to live.” Further tests revealed that the cancer was more wide-spread than they first thought: brain, lungs, and hip. Ups and downs of treatments, tests, hospitalization, nursing home, and then home on hospice, all within a few weeks. Interspersed with all this there were days of laughter and reminiscing. Then another phone call, another plunge, “He’s taken a turn for the worse,” so now it’s down to days. Finally, “He’s gone!” How was that even possible, to happen so quickly?
Following those five, short weeks were tense trips to the ER visiting other family members, happily welcoming my youngest son and his wife back home from a missions trip, sharing disappointments and difficult decisions about the future with family, enjoying a great unexpected weekend getaway . . . yeah, ups and downs on life’s roller coaster!
Life can be like that sometimes. Sickness, death, disappointments, struggles, and fears. Yes, there may have been some good moments in the midst, but human nature seems to focus on the bad, the negative, the senselessness of it all.
I have found that I must be intentional about focusing on the positive, so as not to be easily overwhelmed by the negative. But how does one do that? I certainly cannot do that by looking at the world around me. The newscasters do not seek to spread good, uplifting, or encouraging stories. It’s just one disastrous, tragic event after another. It’s certainly not by surfing the internet or social media drama. So where does one look?
We can only look to the source of all hope, Jesus Christ! Paul the Apostle wrote that if in this life only we have hope, we would be most miserable. How true! Our hope must be in the only One who can give us hope, not only in this life, but for eternity!
In looking to God’s Word today for that hope and uplifting, I focus on two verses found in the book of Psalms. The first verse is Psalm 27:14 – “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” The second one has a similar message, Psalm 31:24 – “Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.”
I especially like the Message version of these two verses: “Stay with God! Take heart. Don't quit. I'll say it again: Stay with God,” and “Be brave. Be strong. Don't give up. Expect God to get here soon.”
I glean from these two verses the following truths:
In what are you placing your hope today? From whom do you receive strength and the courage to face tomorrow? Jesus has never failed me when I’ve turned to Him with complete trust. Please, let me encourage you today to take hope in the Lord!