You just turned off the news but you can't turn off the flutter in your heart. Fear. Worry. Confusion. Everyone advises you to stay hopeful. But what does that actually mean?
World events -- especially for the military and their families -- are confusing and scary these days. And hope seems scarce. Moreover, in what or whom do you hope? Remember that time you placed your hope in an institution (government, educational, medical, even religious) and it failed you? Or when you really thought that person would come through for you, only to be deeply disappointed?
We are all on a search for hope; and I want you to know I have found the source of the only hope that can last. The one who keeps his promises and who is worthy of our trust. Yes, I am talking about God who created you, loves you, and promises to never leave your side, especially during this hard journey.
Let me explain. In the Bible we are told that "Hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls." (Hebrews 6.19) What does an anchor do? Anchors are what prevent a ship from being swept away by stormy winds and turbulent waves. They are able to keep the ship upright and steady because the anchors are attached firmly to a rock or a dock.
These words seem to suggest that your soul -- your inner life which greatly affects your outer actions – also needs a strong anchor if you don’t want to thrash around all over the place. Instead, place your hope in the God who keeps his promises.
What are some of those hopeful promises that we can hold onto today as the world is in chaos?
We are greatly loved by God. “God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him... There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4. 16, 18
God is always near, giving courage. “Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1.9
God strengthens and guides us (and our loved ones) wherever we are. "If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me." Psalm 139.9-10
God's love surrounds us like a shield. "We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield... Let Your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in You alone." Psalm 33:20-22
God blesses us with inner peace during outer turmoil. “The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace.” Psalm 29.11
God is sovereign -- he is the ultimate ruler of the universe. "O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you." 2 Chronicles 20.6
God can be your anchor today as the storms rage without and within. All you have to do is grab hold. One of my earliest lessons on grabbing hold and choosing what seemed impossible happened many years ago.
I was in danger of drowning and needed a lifeline.
We were six twenty somethings all strapped to a large earth-mover inner tube riding the whitewater rapids of the Nantahala River. I know, crazy. Did I mention we were only in our twenties?
We hit a rock, I lost my grip, and I plopped down into the foaming water. When I heard one guy say, “We can’t wait for her,” I stopped flailing and miraculously hauled myself up several feet (in wet blue jeans) to the top of the inner tube to grab hold and never let go!
Hope is like that. Desperate. Daring.
The Bible puts it this way: “Grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God.” Hebrews 6:18–19
We desperately need this anchor in our lives today because whether or not we realize it, the whitewater is swirling, and companions aren’t always dependable.
Will you choose to be a person of hope? Despite any doom and gloom that may surround you? Despite circumstances that point to hopelessness?
Choice is a powerful weapon against the naysayers of the world, against the evil of the world.
Viktor E. Frankl wrote about his own choices as an inmate in Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II in his book Man’s Search for Meaning. He believed prisoners who concentrated on their purpose for life fared better than those without hope. He said,
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
The truth is we all have reason to hope in the future if we are basing our hope in God, the creator and sustainer of the universe. He is never caught by surprise with the conditions of our society and the results of our widening chasm.
As part of a military family, you can face these turbulent times anchored in hope, with both words and actions centered in confidence and courage.
“Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!” Romans 15:13
©2020 Lucinda Secrest McDowell – adapted from “Life-Giving Choices” www.LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com
Lucinda Secrest McDowell, MTS, is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping you Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, McDowell is the award-winning author of 15 books, including Life-Giving Choices, Soul Strong, Dwelling Places, and Ordinary Graces. Lucinda, a member of Redbud Writers Guild and AWSA, is known for her ability to convey deep truth in practical and winsome ways. She co-directs reNEW – retreat for New England Writing and Speaking and blogs regularly at www.LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com.