Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Importance of Hope

We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 1:3

Another good day, I sighed to myself. I’d just added the day’s stars to Peter’s current behavior chart. Over the past 2 years as Peter moved into a wheelchair full time and dealt with other affects from the neurological decline his mito disease caused, he experienced a significant increase in frustration. When the adolescent hormones and attitudes kicked in as well, on top of societal pressures to be independent, our home often erupted with his temper and rage. We worked with counselors on several occasions and behavior charts were often recommended to reinforce the positives and success.

However, adding one more thing on top of all the other monitoring involved in managing Peter’s care made it easy to let them fall by the wayside over time. We’d tried many different forms without consistent success so when it was time to try again, I refused unless we came up with a successful system that didn’t involve massive amounts of work on my part. I discovered Peter’s success depended on the interval between rewards. It needed to be long enough to keep him challenged but short enough to keep him encouraged. In essence, he needed hope that he could reach the goal to endure.

As I thought about that, I realized the importance of hope. For Peter, it helped him have the courage to keep trying. But as the dictionary points out, hope is more than just the belief that something can be attained. It’s also looking forward to something with desire and confidence, a feeling that events will turn out for the best. It’s the source of a positive outlook in life.

There are many days, considering all that’s in my life, that I can lose that positive outlook. But when that happens it’s usually because I have been placing my hope in the wrong thing. Maybe I wanted my husband or a close friend to keep my happy. Maybe I expected material things to keep me entertained or comfortable. I might rely on my job or my children to give me purpose or prestige. But are any of those things guaranteed? Are any of those things unchanging? Are any of those things worth putting my hope in?

Only one person is consistent, unchanging, and always working in my best interest. His name is Jesus. Being in relationship with Him, ensures something positive and good in my life. No matter how bad things get, He is always with me; He shows me how to proceed; He either gives me the strength to deal with my mess or shows me the way out of my hard spot. He ensures that the harshness of this temporal life is compensated in eternity. He ensures my life is not a waste, and my joy is sincere and real because it’s based on Him and not my circumstances.

1 Thessalonians 1:3 points out that endurance is inspired by hope. Without hope we cannot endure. Without Jesus we have no real hope. Won’t you turn to Him today for the only secure hope, the one that will enable you to endure?

2 comments:

  1. Hi Juli,

    Thank you, today's post on hope was so beautiful. I've often thought these last few years, that you can't live without hope. One of my favorite quotations is:

    "If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today, I still have a dream."

    - Martin Luther King, Jr

    Thank you again for such a great post, and a reminder, that no matter how things turn out here on earth, we have hope in eternal life.

    Love, Carol

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  2. Beautiful quote Carol. Thanks so much for sharing it. Thanks also for helping inspire me to keep going and always remember. Wish we didn't share our "club membership" but thankful we have each other. Much love - Juli

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