What’s Your List?
What things do you hold important and therefore hold onto tightly? Is it your car, house, or maybe family pictures or other mementos? Have you ever thought about what you would grab if your house suddenly caught fire and you could only take what you can carry out the door? Every now and then I will run through my list of important things to take if I have to make a quick exit due to fire or another sudden unplanned disastrous situation. Outside of accounting for all family members, I expect to take the box of important papers, my camera, and probably either the computer, the external hard drive or both. I could probably carry a few more things and would likely want my identification, bank cards, and other things of that nature that would just make life easier if I found myself abruptly without a home and the comfortable things I am familiar with. Then there are the pictures, a few mementos, and if I continue to give thought to this I easily fill my arms with ”stuff.” What does your list look like?
Tightly or Lightly?
This initial list of things is just that, ”things” and as important as we feel they or their comfort is perhaps we need to dig a little deeper.Â So how about those things that sustain your life? Do you fear the loss of your job, money, health, or even family members? This list certainly has more value and sustainability than our previous list. This is also the list for which you certainly have less control over. If you rank this list, you quickly can discount your job, career, and money as the least valuable in terms of holding on tightly to. You probably know people who have lost all of these things and survived. So that narrows your list down to health and family members. There is no insurance for these and no guarantees even though they are the most valuable. But yet people lose these things too but still survive and move forward in life. Did they hold onto these things tightly or lightly?
What things should you hold onto tightly and which ones lightly?Â If you consider only the things you have control over what does your list look like now? You have probably discovered that you no longer have a list because you don’t have control over anything. Try as you may you don’t have control over your life. You may think you have it all together but unfortunately you have to factor in all the outside elements of the world and that is where you definitely have no control. So what can you do? How do you survive in a world where you have no control, no worldly guarantees, and losses that touch everyone no matter who they are? It all sounds rather dismal doesn’t it and makes you wonder how people survive?
And the Secret Is”¦
What keeps people who survive extraordinary circumstances moving forward? What secret do they hold and how do you obtain it? The secret is no secret at all because this boldly claimed ”secret” developed thousands of years ago. Writers have written about the ”secret” to life since the beginning of time. The ”secret” to life is the most powerful four letter word in the English language. The ”secret” to life is hope.
How powerful is hope? It can make a shattering difference between life and death. Years ago researchers performed a laboratory experiment to see the effect that hope has on those undergoing hardship. The scientists took two sets of laboratory rats and placed them in separate tubs of water. One set of rats were left in the water and upon seeing no immediate escape they all drowned within an hour. The other set of rats were periodically lifted out of the water and then returned. When that happened, the second set of rats swam for over 24 hours. They swam not because they were given a rest, but because they suddenly had hope! They hoped that if they could stay afloat just a little longer, someone would reach down and rescue them. If hope holds such power for unthinking rodents, how much greater should the effect be on human lives? (Moody Bible Institute, 1990)
Hope for humans comes from the promises of God. When Christ lives in your heart, you can remain courageous and hopeful to the end. You must hold tightly to the hope that God makes good on His promises as proven throughout His word in scripture. Hope is available 24/7 whether going through struggles and trials or ”life is good” moments. A promise from God is a statement you can depend on with absolute confidence.
Getting Started with 12
If you need some encouragement of God’s promises you can start with these 12.
Presence ”“ Hebrews 13:5
Protection ”“ Genesis 15:1
Power ”“ Isaiah 41:10
Provision ”“ Isaiah 41:10
Leading ”“ John 10:4
Purposes ”“ Jeremiah 20:11
Rest ”“ Matthew 11:28
Cleansing ”“ 1 John 1:9
Goodness ”“ Psalm 84:11
Faithfulness ”“ 1 Samuel 12:22
Guidance ”“ Psalm 25:9
Wise plan ”“ Romans 8:28
(excerpted Our Daily Bread)
It is the promises of God that you must hold tightly to for it is this hope that when tightly held keeps your sanity when your personal world goes awry. It is your faith in God knowing that He holds true to all His promises that will not only pull you through and keep you moving forward but provides you peace in the storm of crisis.
Today’s trials do not show the whole picture and it is with your faith in Christ, even if that faith is little, weak, and sometimes wavering that will save you in the end because it provides you hope. So hold onto the secret of life which is hope. Hold tightly knowing that He will answer His promises because there is nothing on your list that will secure your future except God.
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise. Hebrews 10:23 (NLT)
Get Real with What is Important
Once you determine that God is in full control, set and seal your hope. Know that you can trust Him no matter what you may face on earth. This will see you through until your earthly end and then beyond to eternity. Deepening your relationship with Christ will help you secure yourself to overcome difficulties, doubts, struggles, and even your own failures. It builds your faith and increases your hope by great measures. Holding tightly to hope allows you to stand firm against the problems of this world.
So how much faith does it take to give you hope to save your life and soul? Even a little faith is better than no faith because it is with even the little faith that God saves your soul. It is with a little hope that you can move forward in the strong storm winds of life on earth. Surely there must be a catch? There must be some requirement from you to receive this life saving grace, right? You are correct, there is a requirement in order for you to receive the hope of Christ. God requires you to give Him control to trust Him resting your faith in His protective arms. Â It is hope that holds the key to both the present and the future.
Hope: Power for the Present that Secures the Future
A region building a dam as part of a large lake needed to completely flood a small nearby town. In the months before flooding the town, all improvements and repairs in the whole town stopped. There was no use of painting a house if in six months it was to be covered in water. Since the whole town soon would resideÂ under water there was no sense in making repairs. So, week by week, the whole town became more and more bedraggled, disheveled, and dilapidated. The explanation is clear, where there is no hope in the future, there is no power in the present. (Luccock, 1956)
So challenge yourself to use all of the faith you can muster up no matter what you might be facing or face in the future knowing fully with confidence that God is in control. Find your convictions in Christ holding true realizing that God is with you all the time. So grab your hope and squeeze tightly for it is hope that motivates you to move forward and this motivation will provide you the peace in the present because even with a little mustard seed of faith you know that God holds true to His promises.
Love in Christ,
There are no hopeless situations; there are only people who have grown hopeless about them.
Clare Boothe Luce
Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.
Corrie ten Boom
Credits Luccock, H. E. (1956). Unfinished Business Short Diversions on Religious Themes. New York: Harper and Brothers. Moody Bible Institute. (1990). Hope. Today in the Word, 34. Our Daily Bread Ministries. (1985). Promises of God. Our Daily Bread.
What are your thoughts? Join Us in Discussion
Do you hold tightly to the things of this world or have you learned to hold tightly to the promises of God? Have you found hope in hopeless situations? Join us in the sharing of finding hope everywhere you go.