Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“The beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.”
Luke 24: 27
“Facing the Unknown in 2013” – Part 2
“What Am I going to Do? How to Handle Hopelessness”
“Hope is hearing the melody of the future. Faith is to dance to it.”
“Hope” – To have trust and confidence. To look forward with great expectation.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By His great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
1 Peter 1: 3
Revised Standard Version
“Hope is the unshakeable certainty in the realization of the promises of God in Jesus Christ, based on Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.”
They had been in Jerusalem and watched as their beloved friend and leader, Jesus, had been taken away from them. Defeat loomed like a dangerous cliff in front of them. Disappointment was a fog blanketing their path. Tears of sadness rolled down their cheeks. They were perplexed and confused. What’s more they were afraid – for their own lives and for their own future. The casualty left by the events that put these two men into such a state of desperation, was their hope. Don’t even mention the word; for these two travelers from Jerusalem to Emmaus had seen their “hope” go down the drain.
Jesus was dead and missing. An empty tomb told the sad tale. At least that’s how things looked from their perspective. Hopeless was the word of the day. And for you and me, this is exactly how things may look from our perspectives right now. You have a child you love who has succumbed to the clutches of drugs – the situation looks hopeless. Your 33-year marriage has been hit by the bomb of adultery and betrayal – the situation looks hopeless. Your grandchild was just diagnosed with an unknown disease – the situation looks hopeless. Or you have just taken another drink and you promised yourself you would do better. You have lost all faith in yourself – you feel hopeless.
This is exactly why Jesus came to walk with two men on a lonely stretch of road outside of Jerusalem. From a human viewpoint – Jesus was dead, His body stolen, and His enemies gloating -- probably already planning a strategy to wipe out all the other “fools” who believed in Him. And while these two disciples were thinking the worst – the most unbelievable – BEST – not only had happened, it was happening – right in their presence.
The dead Jesus was alive. The tomb was empty because Jesus had risen. Oh, and those gloating enemies – well, over 2,000 years later they’re still trying to make the followers of Jesus look like fools – to no avail. Hope wasn’t crushed by a wooden cross, or a large stone, or legions of Roman soldiers, or even by disappointed followers.
Hope sprung through rock, broke the Roman seal and disabled the Roman soldiers. Hope waited for the faithful women. Hope wiped Mary Magdalene’s tears. Hope sent a message to contrite Peter. And hope walked step-by-step with two men who were trying to rise above what appeared to be a hopeless situation.
But there’s something very important for you and me to remember. Hope was not sustained by a leap of faith in the dark. The foundation of hope is not built on shifting sand but on the Word of God.
When Jesus joined the two men from Emmaus, He could have identified Himself immediately and put all their grief and sorrow to rest. But He didn’t. He wanted those two men and all His believers down through the ages to never forget that we can depend only on a hope that is rock solid. So Jesus, carefully and methodically, took His followers through the Scripture, letting the rock of His Word lay the foundation upon which the truth about Himself was built. This wasn’t the Son of God saying, “Look here boys, snap out of your blues. I’m alive! Happy days are here again!”
No, Jesus did something so wonderful, it shines today as a beacon of light on our path whenever we find ourselves – confused, perplexed, disappointed, and fearful. Jesus said, “Go to my Word. Feast on My word. From Genesis to Revelation – look for Me. You don’t live by ‘bread alone’ but by My Word."
It was the truth of the Scripture which released hope in these men’s hearts.
It is the same today. As the old hymn written by Edward Mote so beautifully says: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” A story that is told from Genesis through Revelation. A hope that is the golden thread that keeps me walking with the Man who is present with me at all times. It is this hope we will find as we study God’s Word every day in 2020. A hope that conquers disappointment, sorrows, and fear. A hope we can count on throughout 2020 – no matter what we face.
“To all who are tossed by the waves,
You are the calm of the harbor;
You are the hope of the hopeful.”
Severus of Thrace
Martyr in Thrace
“Come everyone! Let us place our hope in Him!
Let us love our helper and guardian.
Every fiber of our being rejoices in Him,
Trusting His healing name.
Lord, let Your sure love reside with us,
For we have no hope of joy but You.”
Bruce D. Prewer
Based on Psalm 23
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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