A Living Hope
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." 1 Peter 1:3-5
What gives you hope? What is the "living hope" that this passage refers to?
Losing her mother to cancer was one of the hardest things Kathy had to endure. Her mom was an important part of her life, and if she didn't have Jesus in her life, she never would have made it through her mom's death.
It happened so long ago, yet if felt like yesterday to Kathy.
She'll never forget standing outside the operating room of a New York hospital and getting the first dose of bad news.
"We can't save her," a surgeon explained. He gripped Kathy's hands and looked her in the eyes. "The cancer has spread through your mom's body. It's a matter of days or months, but she will die."
Fifty million emotions ran through Kathy's body at that moment. she was torn. She headed down the hall to a tiny chapel, shut the door and got on her knees. She knelt silently for a while, feeling as if she was on top of a big mountain. She'd peer over the side and think, I just can't go on anymore.
She remembers telling herself, Kathy, don't do this faith thing anymore, because all you've seen is pain. I mean, when I was a teen I experienced the death of my dad--and now my mom! I couldn't believe a loving God would allow this.
Kathy stayed on her knees for what felt like an eternity, struggling with a tug-of-war of emotions. Then Jesus spoke to her spirit with such clarity. He said, "Kathy, am I not still God?"
Here she'd been a Christian for many years, and she had to answer that question. She couldn't get up from her knees until she responded to it. She knew if she answered "yes," then she had to believe the things He said about Himself--and the promise He gave her.
Kathy thought, How can I turn away from God during one of the biggest tragedies of my life? She knew that shaking her fist at Him would be wrong. So, at that moment she prayed, "God, show me Your love. Give me the strength to make it through this part of my life."
And He did.
On the last day she spent with her mom, Kathy held her hand for six hours. Her mom whispered to her that she wasn't afraid. Kathy and her sister took turns reading Psalm 23 to their mother: "The Lord is my shepherd. . . . Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil."
All of a sudden, their mom started recited the passage by heart. Then she took her last breath. But at that moment--while Kathy was at her side crying because her mother had left her--Kathy knew Jesus was waiting for her with outstretched hands.
Lord, help me to hold on to the living hope every believer has in You. When this life feels too painful to endure, remind me that I have an inheritance that is "imperishable, undefiled, and unfading," and that's kept in heaven for me. Amen.