Every so often, I enjoy reading a passage from a small book titled, “Life’s Little Instruction Book,” by H. Jackson Brown, Jr. It contains over 500 short thoughts, some of which are a humorous insight and others a daily challenge.
Instruction #139 hit me hard the other day. “Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all they have.” How true. How wise.
The writer of Hebrews says, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” When I was a pastor, I often encountered people who were hoping for good things to come into their lives. They couldn’t see those good things but they knew they were just around the corner. They waited expectantly for them to come.
People came into my office or would call me on the phone and tell of their hopes and their dreams. Sometimes they would tell their stories with joy and laughter. Other times the details would flow freely and mix with the tears streaming down their cheeks. People would hope for better health. They would hope for healed marriages. They would hope for problem free children, happy families, or higher paying jobs. Every person had hopes and dreams.
But you and I both know what we hope for doesn’t always come to pass. Bad things happen to people every day, in spite of their hopes. People still get sick and stay sick. Sometimes they get more sick and sometimes they even die. Marriages dissolve. Children wet their parents’ eyes and break their parents’ hearts. Families become dysfunctional. People loose their jobs…And the list goes on.
But there are times when hope is all a person has left to hold. Faith is the only thing that will see a person through the darkest days, the blackest nights. David said, “Lo, though I walk through the valley…I will fear no evil for Thou art with me.” It is often hope and faith that makes the dark journey possible.
So the challenge is before us: Give someone hope. Increase their faith. Say a word that encourages rather than discourages. Remind someone of God’s faithfulness through even the darkest of times. It just might help them face the future.
Who knows? It might be all they have.
Thank you for the future, no matter what it might bring. Thank you for dreams, hope, and expectation. Thank you for the strength to live each day when faced with nothing but struggle and pain.
Open my eyes to those who need hope. Open my heart to those who need strength. Open my hands that I might reach out with reassurance. Open my life that I may be a reflection of your faithfulness. AMEN.