Journey to Faith

Journey to Faith
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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Don't Give Up Hope

Have you lost hope? Tired of waiting for that dream to come true? Another year is coming to a close and it's easy to focus on what is missing from our lives, rather than the gifts that are already here. Perhaps you're dealing with an illness. Maybe a loved one has died or a relationship has gone sour. Or you're single and feeling lonely and depressed. Whatever is trying to pull you down today, this post is to encourage you to keep your spirits up and to keep expecting good things.

This week the season of Advent begins. Advent means "coming" or "arrival". It is the time of preparation leading up to the celebration of the birth of Christ. The Advent wreath is made up of evergreens to remind us that even though we may be in a season of winter where we don't see anything happening, new life will come again. Advent is a time of expectation and anticipation. It is a time to focus on the true gifts of Christmas - hope, peace, joy and love. So how do we keep hope alive when bad things happen to us?

Sometimes things happen in our lives we don't expect. Challenges and trials come at us out of the blue that throw us off course. Our dreams for the future can be dashed to the ground. Yet, when we look at our lives through our spiritual glasses and the lens of faith, it is possible to maintain hope even when things don't turn out the way we had expected.

Let's look at the example of the young girl named Mary in the Bible. When the angel of the Lord told her she was going to be with child, which in essence meant she was going to be an unwed mother, a crime punishable by stoning, what was her response? "Let it be done unto me according to your word." Mary was willing to trust and to surrender her life and her will for God's purposes no matter what the cost. She was willing to endure the shame of being an unwed mother and possible death to be obedient to God. Mary had no idea of the pain and suffering she would endure to bring the Christ child into this world. Why would she do this?

Mary's hope was in God and in His great love for her. For this same reason, we, too, can have hope this holiday season. When we are secure in the knowledge of God's immeasurable and unfailing love or us, no matter what comes our way, good or bad, we can rest in God's promise to always be with us. Jesus is also called Emmanuel, which means exactly that - God with us. God promises to be with us, particularly during the tough times. One of my favorite verses is Ps. 34:18. "God is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Like Mary, sometimes we don't know what the future holds, but we can hold fast to the One who does.

What are your hopes this holiday season? What is the longing of your heart? Whatever it is, give it to the Lord, and trust that He will surround you with His amazing love this season. His gifts are for every child of His and that means each and every one of us. When all else fades, Jesus is still there to light our way. "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12)

If this post has encouraged and you'd like to receive my bi-weekly posts plus my free guide entitled "7 Steps to Finding Your Spiritual Path", enter your email in the box provided and do pass it on. Someone you know may need a little hope this season.

Until next time, keep looking up!