The promise I most long to plant in hearts comes from Jeremiah. You probably know it:
For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord God: plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you a hope and a future.
It is a truth God desires for us to convey. In I Peter 3:15, the instruction is “…be ready to give an answer for the hope in your heart.” Hope for the future is a challenging promise to cling to in this sin-ravaged world. Heartache and despair blinds many. To speak of hope to the grieving, to those with debilitating illness…to any of the despairing hearts we encounter every day requires the involvement of the Spirit. Before we speak to others, we must always remember to mourn with those who mourn; we cannot pretend that life is pain-free. We acknowledge the present reality but refuse to allow it to have victory. Our loving compassion allows the Spirit to minister hope! Before we speak to others, though, we must have confident hope for the future in our own heart.
So how can we make this truth our own? God gave these words to a people in captivity. We live in a world captive to many things: poverty, comfort and ease, alcohol, pornography, greed. Hopelessness abounds. Suicide statistics indicate that in the
U.S. despair takes a life every 14.2 minutes. Human trafficking (the modern term for slavery) affects 27 million people in the world today. Addiction devastates millions of lives on a daily basis. Evil afflicts our world and obscures God’s promised future…evil does not decimate God’s promises. In fact, the dark backdrop prepares hearts for a solid message of hope.
That first dark thread of sin separated humanity from God; it left us floundering to meet very real needs without divine wisdom. The Hope we have is that our loving, powerful Creator continually reaches out to guide us through the darkness. Evil cannot demolish God’s goodness; as Paul said, where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. God does not despair for He has made a way and His love continually keeps the door open. His love never fails—it is never driven off-course. Even though sin derails lives, the derailment cannot cut off the love of God. Therein is the hope we must proclaim. The love of God is unbroken. We will often be unable to answer the cries from broken hearts; we cannot always know “Why?”, but we know WHOM! Lovingly walking alongside the hurting, with confidence in the One who loves, brings hope!