The Power of Hope

"Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."

Romans 5:5

It’s been said, "a man can go 6 weeks without food, 6 days without water, 6 minutes without oxygen, but he cant go 6 seconds without hope." Hope is the difference between living and dying. I got to witness that first hand a number of years ago now. My dad was in the hospital on life support after a fall in his driveway where he hit his head and had bleeding on his brain. For over a month we were“clinging to hope” that our dad would recover. Some days we held on tight while on other days it seemed like it was slipping away. Thank God for family and good friends.

For about two weeks my dad was sedated and on life support as they monitored his brain to ensure the swelling went down and the bleeding subsided. When they felt it was safe they removed the ventilator and allowed him to wake up and breathe on his own. We were hopeful. When he came around he had trouble breathing as his blood pressure was too low and his breathing so shallow he was building up carbon monoxide in his bloodstream and it appeared his condition was becoming hopeless. And if appearances painted a bleak picture, my dad fully aware of his condition grew increasingly hopeless as he saw the path of his recovery fading further and further into the distance.

For a few days my dad was off the ventilator and able to communicate so I was able to talk with him. My dad trusted me to tell him the truth, even if it wasn’t what he wanted to hear and as we prayed and talked you could sense the hope welling up in him by both his attitude and actions. He understood the road to getting well was long and he was more than willing to travel down its ever winding path. A quote from a movie came to mind, “get busy living or get busy dying”, and if anyone understood, "your attitude is the key to your altitude" when it comes to recovery it was my father. He had already been through three major surgeries in his life before this incident. Each one had tested his courage and faith and his hope of a better tomorrow. This time was no different, or was it?

I watched on two occasions during his hospital stay where my dad was giving up hope of making a complete recovery and each time he began to lose hope his condition took a turn for the worse momentarily and almost immediately. I was witnessing first hand what hopelessness can do to a man as my dad was forgetting what the bible declares to be true. Romans 8:24-25 reminds us, "For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance." My dad was for the moment living by sight and not by faith. He was hearing one thing from the doctors and seeing another in his own progress and hope began slipping away. It wasn't until he believed in faith that he could really get better and looked at the future through the eyes of hope that he really did begin to improve. Hope infuses hope.

As Andy Dufresne said in the movie Shawshank Redemption: “Remember, Red, Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” Hope really does make all the difference in the world, loved one, not a false hope but a hope that is firmly rooted in truth, the truth of God's Word, His promise to us that no matter what happens to us this side of heaven He is faithful to us and He is with us every step of the way. Nothing, and I mean nothing happens to a child of God that doesn't first pass through the filter of His love. Watching my dad that month has served as a great encouragement to me these past few years of the power of hope and the role each of us can play in pointing others to the very source of hope, to God Himself. Don’t give up hope, ever!

Imagine the hope of that first Easter this morning. Consider that every eye witness at the Cross had no visible hope of a resurrection from the dead. They had seen with their own eyes the brutality poured out on Jesus in his beatings and His crucifixion. They all wept, each of His followers mourned and some could not even bare to watch the suffering any longer and turned and walked away in defeat as the One with whom they had placed their hope was now dead. All the events surrounding the Cross are true and real as they are testified by eye witnesses, the disciples who were there. All that was missing in their lives was hope because to them, when Jesus died, hope died too.

Yet, like my dads condition did, everything can change in a matter of days. For the disciples three days later the empty tomb gave birth to hope as not even death could hold Jesus down. Now, alive from the dead, every message Jesus had taught His disciples had come to life in their hearts and minds. With the resurrection of Christ comes the birth of hope, that in Jesus Christ all things are possible even when they look the exact opposite to the human eye. Hope makes it possible to hold on when everything says let go.

What worked in the lives of the disciples worked for my dad as he went on to recover allowing my family to enjoy him more than ever before, as he went home to be with Jesus a year later. If hope could have such a powerful effect on my dads recovery I am certain it can for you too, loved one. It doesn't matter how bleak the situation or the circumstances of your life might be today. Maybe your marriage is on the rocks and is all but dead. Maybe its your own health that’s taken a turn for the worse and the future looks anything but promising. Let me encourage you, put your hope in God. Our God majors in bringing dead things back to life. Maybe you have an addiction that has a hold on you. Put your hope in God. Don't go by your past failure to gage the success of your future. Focus on the power of the empty tomb, and put your hope in God. No matter what you might be going through today, no matter how difficult the climb may be, as long as there is a God in heaven, there is hope in this world. Put your hope in God!

"And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You."

Psalms 9:10


Michael Osthimer





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