Hope Afresh

(The Dakota Baptist Connections published my article a while back.)

Throughout the winter months I look out my window at the trees which appear to be nothing more than the skeletal remains of something that once was. Often my mind remembers the relief of last summer’s shade on a hot day or the vibrant hues of fall leaves. My thoughts and the bleak scene of winter belie the soon-to-be beauty of the new season. As winter slips into spring there is a small window, perhaps a few days, that refreshes my soul. It is the week or so when the buds on the trees begin to sprout green foliage, which stands out in stark contrast to the muted tones of winter and says to the world, “I’m alive!” To me, this annual blossoming has become a symbol of the renewal of life hope offers.

The follower of Christ recognizes God as the author of hope. Scripture depicts hope as a powerful element in a life of faith. Hope empowers the weak, fuels perseverance, and builds endurance. Hope is the lifeblood of a spiritually healthy Christian in many ways:

For those who are experiencing hardships, there is the hope of God’s provision.

For those who are troubled in spirit, there is the hope of God’s peace.

For those who struggle with sin, there is the hope of God’s forgiveness and restoration.

For those who experience sorrow, there is hope found in the joy of the Lord.

For those who are burdened, there is the hope of freedom found in Christ.

For those who face death or have experienced the death of a loved one, there is the hope of the resurrection.

For the follower of Jesus, there is always hope…regardless of the circumstances.

Spring reminds me of hope—earthly and eternal.  I have hope in my present earthly circumstances that God is present with me, sustaining me through the trials of life.  My earthly future is filled with hope as God promises to finish the work He began in me and to fulfill His purpose through my life. Hope fills my thoughts with the promise of eternal life, confirmed by Christ’s resurrection and the downpayment of the Holy Spirit which gives assurance that my hope is not in vain.

As a widower, a single dad, and, yes, even as a pastor, I need this reminder of hope, a reminder of God’s faithfulness, a reminder that refreshes my soul. Thank you, Lord, for spring.

8 thoughts on “Hope Afresh

  1. Another promise of hope for me: “Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” The Lord has been faithful with honoring that promise.
    In my humble opinion, only those who have actually walked our path and lost a spouse, can empathize with our agony. And yet, unless 1) one never marries OR 2) both husband & wife die simultaneously – sooner or later, EVERYONE WILL experience similar mourning. I can’t imagine traveling this grieving journey without the Holy Spirit as my comforter.

    1. Well said! I made some similar comments about this journey applying to everyone sooner or later in other posts and in the caringbridge blog while my wife was ill. If couples today would recognize this fact it would change perspectives and attitudes for the good in many relationships!

      1. Thank you for posting this.

        “for those who struggle with sin……” really struck a chord with me, as I have been beating myself up about past choices and this is exactly what I needed.

  2. Thank you for the reply Newoutlook. I think we all struggle with past choices and many of us have experienced life long consequences for our choices. Perhaps I should have included something more about God’s grace leading to self-forgiveness even while we are struggling to find victory over our sin nature.

  3. Very good Pastor Jeff. A few days after the one year aniversary of Ed’s home coming, I felt a new and deeper peace about what God has for my life now. Praise God. Chad and I are leaving for our cruise and visit to Florida this week. God Bless You, Linda and Chad.( your family).

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