Just typing the title causes a bit of hope to arise inside my heart. Does it you? “What if” and a blank space could be filled in any number of ways. Depending on how your mind works, this can also spark fear instead of hope. I get that, I had lived that way for far too long. Something happened inside when the worst “what if” actually happened and now I know. I know what loss is and I walk differently now. I have said this before, but I pray you heard me say this is a positive thing. Hard? Absolutely. Did a new reality take time to adjust too? Yes, and at times I am still adjusting. However, good has come and for that I will look for more good and praise God for His blessings.
Driving home from school the other day, a “what if” dream came out of my mouth. I have shared this dream with my husband because hope is safe with him. This dream, in all practical purposes, will not happen. However, I told the kids about the dream and that this is what I am praying about. I trust the Lord to make it happen, if it is for our good and His glory. He is the only One that can. Their excitement was really fun! One began making plans, even though nothing has changed. I love the faith of children! This is something I will continue to fan into flame.
I wonder where we lose this kinda hope and faith? Some manage to hang on to it longer than others I guess. Depends on your growing up years maybe. I think it is time to take it back! I do not suggest we live in a careless way, but that our hearts change. Have you ever been around a hopeful person? Their joy is so obvious to anyone that spends a few minutes with them. I want to be this kind of wife, mom, daughter, relative, friend and servant. People are lost and hurting in this world. Some are trapped in hopelessness, fear, anger and sin. What can we do to shine a light into their dark space? Hold up the hope and faith that comes from knowing Jesus. Pray for this friend, share scripture, listen and at times, just sit and be quiet, but close.
What if you do know Jesus, but life has pretty much beat you back to dust? What now? How do you even begin to spark hope again? The only thing I can confidently share with you is what I have done. For me, I have reacted differently over time and I can say there is defiantly a better way! When news arrives I have a choice to make. Will I spin circles of worry and fear in my head or will I go the way I see modeled in the Bible? The choice is mine to make. Easy? No, but it is actually getting easier the more I turn to Christ.
I do not see life getting easier anytime soon, but my hope and faith are getting stronger every day. And when I search the scriptures for examples of people who have gone before us, I find encouragement, hope, strength, peace, joy and remarkable courage. I want this too! However, how will I know the Lord has put any of this in me if I do not have to put it into practice? It is one thing to say that I have faith and hope, but do I when life presses in? Am I able to stand in what feels like a fire with no exit in sight? If I am trusting in my own strength, I fall every time into a pit of panic. Does this change the circumstance? Absolutely not, and it makes for a miserable life. Inside and out I am a mess. I do not want to live this way. I want to live a life marked by hope and faith.
This desire is lived out all through the scriptures, but makes me wonder at the same time. What if Noah had said no to building the ark? What if Moses had not agreed to lead the Israelites out of Egypt? What if Joshua had never gone to scout out the Promised Land? What if Ruth had decided to stay in Moab and not go with Naomi to Bethlehem? What if David had been content to continue to shepherd his father’s sheep and had turned down the Lord choosing him as king? What if Jonah had not gone to Nineveh after the whole fish incident? What if all the prophets had not spoken up and shared what the Lord had in store? What if Daniel had stopped praying and given into the order to only pray to King Darius? We can not forget Queen Esther going to King Ahasuerus to request that her people, the jews, be saved. She could have frozen in fear.
Need more examples? How about John the Baptist proclaiming the need to repent and that Jesus was on his way? What about the courage Mary demonstrated when the angel came to her and shared the plan to bring Jesus down to save us? Then there are the disciples that followed Jesus, learned from him and then shared the good news. So many people came to Jesus for healing while he was here. That had to take so much faith. Just because you hear that someone can do miracles, sometimes it is hard to believe he could do the same for you.
I wonder what the woman had heard in Mark 5, who had the issue of continuous bleeding for 12 years? “For she said, ‘If only I may touch his clothes, I shall be made well.” (Mark 5:28). This precious woman was healed immediately, all from one touch. I love the words Jesus speaks to her. “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be healed of your affliction.” (Mark 5:34). Did you know that when this took place, Jesus was actually on his way to a man named Jairus’ house to see about his daughter, who was sick. He was still speaking when word came that the little girl had died. Hear this next part! “As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he said…’Do not be afraid: only believe.” (Mark 5:36). He goes on to say, “The child is not dead, but sleeping.” (Mark 5:39). Jesus makes his way to the house. “Then he took the child by the hand, and said to her…’Little girl, I say to you, arise.” (Mark 5:41). The little girl happened to be 12 years old. She had been alive as long as the woman had been ill. Both were healed.
I do not know where your heart is with faith and hope, but I know the One who offers both. Maybe you, like me, need the reminder of what to do when life gets hard. I want to hear him call me daughter. I want to hear him tell me that my faith has healed whatever circumstance that I can not and to go in peace. I want him to take me by my hand and restore true life. Life is truly lived by placing your hand in his. I will never let go! There is so much of myself in these two interactions with Jesus. When this hit me years ago, I was changed forever. I will save that story for another day.
I pray your weekend is filled with faith and hope.