Essential Hope

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(Essential Hope)

I love cowboy! Anything cowboy. Growing up, I was a member in good standing of the local “Orange Acres Backbreakers” 4-H Club. I had the horse & saddle, hat, boots…all the cool cowboy stuff.

And now, being grown-up, I still love a cowboy. Our home is decorated with a Western bend and we love it. We’ve got steer horns, cowhides, boots — even a set of spurs on our coffee table.

One day a gal at church told me she and her family were going to “Cowboy Camp.” Cowboy camp?!! I was so excited for her. “I didn’t know there was such a thing as Cowboy Camp,” I told her. “So what do they do there? Do they teach you to ride and rope, take down a calf? How to groom your horse…?”

“No,” she laughed. “Not Cowboy cowboy. Dallas Cowboy. As in Dallas Cowboy Football Camp!” Football cowboys? I could hardly compute this in my cowgirl brain. What a letdown! I couldn’t believe it! Football cowboys. It seemed that things were sure not what they had first appeared to be!

But actually, when you think about it, that’s probably a good thing. What if everything we encountered at first glance was really the way it was and the way it stayed — for good? What if there was no hope for something better to come, hope for a better future, hope for change?

I once heard of a gentleman who had prayed for a lady to receive healing; he asked her if she felt she was healed. She replied, “I hope so!” He promptly told her, “Then you’re not!” And with that he walked off.

Hearing of this encounter, I did a mini-Bible study to find out if ‘hope’ was really all that bad — what I found out was truly amazing. First off, I found that God is called “The God of Hope.” In Hebrews, this God-hope is referred to as an “anchor of the soul” and Psalms sums up those two great verses by telling us that the man who hopes in the Lord will be happy (joyful and blessed). Can’t beat that!

It’s said that the famous Smith Wigglesworth, before his meetings, would pace back and forth repeating over and over, “Faith is action! Faith is action!” (It’s documented that Smith raised 14 people from the dead. Some sources say more). Faith is definitely an action word, but I believe hope is too. Hope motivates us to act and enables us to keep going even in the bleakest of circumstances.

Let’s pretend for a minute that you are driving through the desert and decide to turn off on a deserted road, thinking it’s a shortcut. It’s 120 degrees in the shade and you run out of gas — you are out in the middle of nowhere, miles away from the main road. No food and no water. You try desperately to call 911 on your cell phone – no connection. “Can you hear me now?” is just not happening. Things are desperate!

What is the one thing that keeps you from just curling up in a little ball and calling it a day? After all, the possibility of anyone driving by is pretty much zero. Are you thinking of your job, your last vacation, or those new shoes you’re dying to wear? No – you are hoping against hope that something happens to change your dire circumstances.

It’s hope that sustains people through loss of a job, or a challenging health issue, and it’s hope that supports us all through these tough circumstances created by the Coronavirus. Hope gives us all a glimpse into a future that could be better.

Someone once said that “Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.” Doesn’t that sound like something the God of Hope would offer?! That would be a yes!!

PS: And by the way, only to ease your mind, a crazy motorcycle rider came blazing down the desert road and found you just in the nick of time! Hope lives!!

Bob and Susan Beckett pastor The Dwelling Place City Church at 27100 Girard Street in Hemet. For more information, you can visit them at DPCitychurch.com.

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