Losing and Finding Hope

Hope.  My one word for 2013.  After I felt God impress this word on my heart, I reflected on 2012. When had I lost my hope? When and how did I begin to find it again?

My story of losing hope is yet to come, but here’s the moment I found hope again…

I sat in a small room in the Valle de Angeles, Francisco Morazan, Honduras, near Tegucigalpa.  A non-descript room filled with beds and one small sofa.  One of seven women preparing to welcome over 100 missionaries to this place for a four-day retreat.

  

We gathered to sit at the feet of Jesus. Praying and listening for His guidance.  Focusing on what He purposed for us over the next four days and beyond.  Emptying of self and refilling of Him.

Our leader shared 2 Corinthians 3:18.

But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.  For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord.  And the Lord – who is the Spirit – makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. (Verses 16-18)

His Spirit lives in those who have turned to Him.  We reflect His glory.  He makes us more and more like him, changing us into His image.  And best of all, when His magnificent glory shines upon our faces, others can’t help but notice.  His Spirit living in us creates a glow that others notice.

And wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  Freedom.

I listened but didn’t speak. I was feeling awkward and insecure about being part of this team.  I felt I’d lost my ability to teach or to be a friend.  I never prayed aloud anymore.  I used to love discussing God’s word, but mostly had kept silent in recent Bible studies.

In some ways, I’d lost myself because I’d lost my hope. And when you don’t have hope, you don’t know who you are or where to turn.

In this moment, God began restoring my hope. My hope in Him, this world, and myself.  He began working on my big picture “heaven is my hope” and my small picture “I have hope.”  He spoke to me clearly in this little room…

Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.

For me, that was hope.  Hope of a life of freedom for me and others. We don’t have to live in bondage to anything.  Think of your new year’s resolution. If you’re resolving to change that part of your life, then there’s bondage in that area. There’s not freedom.

He offers freedom.  If we’ve turned to Him, the Spirit lives inside us. And, where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. (I know I’ve said it three times, but it’s so exciting!)

What do you want to be free from by the end of 2013?

Pray…God change me. Lord, whatever it takes – joy or suffering – change me.  Then, be obedient to his commands, engaging in relationship with him through his word, prayer, and Godly community.

A warning…this isn’t easy.

In that little room in Honduras, the leader reminded us…it’s so easy to get distracted by what’s around us – on our left and right. The opinions of others.  The pull of the world and culture.  The need to be known and fit in.  The stuff in catalogs and magazines.

She turned to the lady on her left and placed a bracelet on each of her friend’s wrists and asked her not to look left, not to look right, but to stay focused on Jesus.  Eyes heavenward.

Each of us received two bracelets from the one on her left, reminding her to stay focused with her eyes turned upon Jesus.

Together we sang Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Rest full in his wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.

If you rest full in Him – gazing at His wonderful face – following Him as He answers your prayer “Lord, change me” will become easier.  I love this quote from Joanna Weaver:  It is impossible to be in the presence of Jesus and not be changed.

I pray you and I are changed, looking more like our Creator, from this day forward.

There’s hope.

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What’s your one word for 2013?  I’d love for you to share!  You can also join the One Word 365 community.

Comments

  1. Can’t wait to see how hope plays out for you, friend.

  2. Anchor

    • That’s a great word, Shasta. I can think of so much having to do with anchor. This is part of my year too…my heart being anchored in hope. Keep us up to date on how the year goes:)

      • Thanks Sarah! What you said really goes along with what I’ve been going through. I am on the same page with you, anchored in hope, anchored in Him. Heb. 6:19, “This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.” I’ve been trying to set anchor in so many other things and 2013 is my time to anchor in Hope, in Him.

  3. Tremendous post. Dave and I sang with you, ” Turn your eyes upon Jesus” in harmony when reading this. I was just meditating on this today- not looking at my circumstances or people, but maintaining my focus straight ahead, on Christ. What a great reminder!

Trackbacks

  1. […] I don’t know what you’re walking through today.  I don’t know what you’ve been through or what God is about to allow in your life.  But, I know this.  He’s there in the mess ready to teach, transform, redeem, and restore.  Growing you closer and closer to Him. There’s HOPE. […]

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