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HOPE ENCOUNTERED

Updated: Aug 26, 2021

Written by: Sherry Fish


“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5 

There is a hope that will never, ever disappoint. It is not elusive nor is it wishful thinking.  It is not based on “positivity” and  it isn’t something that shifts with circumstances and opinions.  Jesus paid the deepest price for us to live with the joyful confidence that He is with us, through thick and through thin. He has made a new and living way for us to live in hope.  Maybe you are struggling to pay the bills, maybe you’re walking through betrayal, or maybe you’re dealing with the wounds from a dysfunctional childhood. Regardless of what your story is, His promise to us is always to give us fresh hope. 



I encountered this God of hope in one of the darkest seasons of my life.  I had suffered with a disorder for many years and my mind was filled with self-loathing and tormenting thoughts.  I felt without hope and completely defeated.  The onslaught of shame I felt after an episode of struggling with the disorder usually had me on my face in prayer, crying out with all my heart for help.  I remember one such day years ago, I was heavy with shame and guilt for “not being able to overcome this.”  Thinking how God had delivered me from all sorts of addictions, but somehow I am still struggling with this disorder? Another wave of shame and guilt would hit me. “I must be a terrible Christian” was my conclusion.

 

I went to my small group at church that night and during worship, God whispered, “Do you trust in my love?”  Those words of life broke my heart in the best way.  It was the question that I needed to anwer.  I mustered up the courage and said, “yes Lord I trust in your love.”  Tears streamed down my face as I was able to receive the affections of God, right there in my shame.  He didn’t give me a talk about my disorder.  He didn’t tell me that I needed to do steps 1,2, and 3 to get free. Though those things might have helped me somewhat, I knew in that moment that what He really wanted from me was to let His love in.  “Will you let My love in?” It’s as if He knew my problem isn’t the “disorder”.  It would really be so easy for Him to heal me in an instant, to magically take away all of my struggles, but He was getting to something below the surface.  He knew that at the core of my being there is a gaping hole for LOVE.  To be loved just as I am, disorder or not.  To feel worthy of love even when I am not perfect and have it all together.


I would propose that He is asking you and I the same question, day in and day out.  The same way that Jesus asked Peter the question after he betrayed Him.  “Will you let love in?”  You see, I had just met Jesus in the midst of my hopeless mess. I had been struggling for many years before I received Him into my life and I was so used to the voice of self-hatred I couldn’t even fathom a God (or any human for that matter) who would not punish me for my failures and shortcomings. He didn’t come to me at that moment with the voice of a judge.  He met me right where I was at and offered a hope I had not felt before.


The disorder slowly but completely lost its grip over me a year later. That deep sense of  self-hate and shame I was so familiar with also vanished. God had won. It wasn’t magic. It was through hoping, and choosing to say “yes” to His love. Are you in a similar place of hopelessness?


When everything around us looks bleak, it is where God shines the brightest. The impossible is possible to Him. Hope is about Him. Hope comes from Him, is sustained in Him, and completes its course in Him. We get to receive this free gift throughout any season of life because Jesus made a new and living way and has given us His Holy Spirit. He is always available to His children. The hope that doesn’t let us down is rooted in experiencing Him.  Where God’s love pours over our hearts and washes us of all the accusations, shame, and guilt.  God IS love and to experience Him is to experience Love. God longs to know you, face-to-face and heart-to-heart. We have been created to encounter our Creator.  We were designed to know His love. Even if you find yourself in the darkest valley of life, know that His hope can still flourish there.  It is not based on how bad or good something looks.  It takes its roots in Him. If you are burdened by guilt and shame, come to Him and He will infuse your soul with His life.  He is forever our source of hope.


Jesus wants to take us and make us His houses of hope. He is looking to gather His people who know and have experienced Him to offer the world something it can never create on its own. This world needs so desperately the unshakable promises of God. It needs His children to rise up and carry this light into the darkness. Hope as a beacon to a generation that is crying out for something more. As our hearts are full of Him, we can have something to offer to a hopeless world. God in us, the hope of glory! 


THE PROMISE :

“And now we have run into his heart to hide ourselves in his faithfulness.  This is where we find his strength and comfort, for he empowers us to seize what has already been established ahead of time -- an unshakeable hope!  We have this certain hope like a strong, unbreakable anchor holding our souls to God himself.  Our anchor of hope is fastened to the mercy seat which sits in the heavenly realm beyond the sacred threshold, and where Jesus, our forerunner, has gone in before us.  He is now and forever our royal Priest like Melchizedek.”  Hebrews 6:18 - 20 TPT 

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