Let us define the word, hope.
“Hope” is commonly used to mean a wish: its strength is the strength behind the person desire. But in the Bible hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised and its strength is in His faithfulness.
Chapter 1: THE CHRISTIAN HOPE – Wiley Online Library
I have always been a guy filled with hope. Let me go on an exploration of my early life. For instance, I wanted to be a United States Air Force pilot at the age of ten (hope), but due to complications with my eyes, I reluctantly couldn’t. Hopes Dashed. But something inside of me kept on hoping that there would be a cure, and I was hoping that it would come fast before I graduated from high school. And it did. But, my life, so far, has not been what I hoped for, but I figured God did not want me to enlist. However, there was still a little hope in the form of surgery.
Yet, at the age of twelve *about two months before I would turn thirteen, I received an American football pass that I did not want to receive, type 1 diabetes. Contemplating how this one disease would change the rest of my life, that change was in a direction that I did not want to go or in a direction that I was not willing to venture down. The endocrinology staff calls this Diabetic Rebellion. And it would be a little over five years before I changed. But there it was. It seemed like it was forced upon me like some bunch of hooligans come to ransack your house with you being tied up and you can’t do anything about it. I felt like I was being told what to do by this horrible disease of diabetes. Another hope dashed.
While still dealing with my unwanted disease, I have been a Christian for most of my life (since the age of seven), and at the age of fourteen, I received my spiritual calling. Mistakenly, I thought that it was to be a youth pastor, and after a little less than four years my hopes were dashed.
See, I did all that my spiritual advisors-(my youth pastor, other youth pastors, other pastors outside of my church, and other pastors from outside of New England)-had told me to do if I wanted to head down the path of being a youth pastor. I preached wherever I had the opportunity. I preached in front of my own youth group. I preached in front of neighboring youth groups. I preached in front of youth regional conventions, Weekend Retreats, and summer camps. And I even had recognition from other pastors about my preaching abilities at a summer youth camp of over 300 teens were present when I came in first place in the preaching competition. But I learned to apply what I was reading in the Bible to my life from early on, and I knew from various Scriptures that God did not like pride (Proverbs 11:2; 13:10; 21:24 just to name a few). So…I was are always careful about pride. Even so, after I purposed and prepared my heart and mind to go ahead by doing the “Lord’s work” by going into ministry for the youth, God had another surprise for me.
Nothing was going to stop me as I was excited to start my way in preparing to serve God as a youth pastor. I, even made a vow to God that I would not use my “youth pastorship” as a means to get my own church. In due time, I had applied and got accepted into a Christian college. And the waiting game was on, for June 3rd, 1989 was my graduation date from high school.
A week later I would turn eighteen, but as I told you before, God had a big surprise for me. It came in the form of a horrifying car accident into a piece of granite that they had blasted through to make the highway I was currently on, just eighteen days after my eighteenth birthday. Around 6 a.m., I apparently fell asleep at the wheel going 70 miles/hour on the highway. Trying to correct my driving, I over corrected which sent me into that large granite boulder.
There I was. My brand new used sports car was trashed, and there I was with a severely bleeding head in which my skull was broken into so many pieces it was like a 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. But, through providence, God placed a doctor that was right behind me on the highway there to give me medical attention, although I am sure he thought that there was no hope for me.
When I got into the ambulance, I am sure the EMT’s thought the same thing as the doctor. Amazingly, my whole body was intact except a broken right finger and my skull. In fact, most of my head was intact, but the part was affected was trashed. And there is absolutely no reason why I should not be dead or in a vegetative state right now except God.
Oddly enough, I still remember periods of my one-month coma, and I remember the three weeks that I thought I was in a bad dream. It was awful. I remember one night at the rehabilitation hospital, I said a prayer, and it went something like this:
“God, I am sick and tired of this bad dream. Please wake me up by morning! Just in case this is real, I will serve You for the rest of my life. In Jesus name, Amen.”
Honestly, I did not think that I was in the rehabilitation hospital, but again a bad dream. By morning, though, my condition had not gotten any better, and suddenly the dread took over me. Hopes Dashed. However, I had kept this verse as a reminder to me, and it comes from Ecclesiastes 5:4 :
If you make a promise to God, don’t be slow to keep it. God is not happy with fools, so give God what you promised. (NCV)
Suddenly I felt trapped by my own words that I said the night before, but I dare not have God think of me as a fool, so I did what I promised. It was that morning that made all the difference in my recovery-A True Hope Restored.
There is a whole book in the Bible dedicated to this, Hopes Dashed… A True Hope Restored. It’s The Book of Job. Job goes through some of the most horrific trials, and his wife and his four friends are of no help. Truly, Hopes Dashed… because he, himself, did not know that this was a testing allowed by God. However, at the end of the book, it is a story of A True Hope Restored… Just take a look by clicking the link above, The Book of Job.
It seems to me that God has designed each and every one of us to go through tragedy in order to experience the blessing of some sort. Just take a listen to “Blessings”-Laura’s Story. Finally, I want to leave you with a Scripture verse, and it comes from Romans 15:13 which says:
I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace while you trust in Him. Then your hope will overflow by the power of the Holy Spirit. (NCV)
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