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People Need Hope

I have noticed I do a lot better in life when I have a sense of hope. When I can look ahead and say, “I can see good things coming,” my attitude stays calm, my motivation stays high and my willingness to faithfully do what is right remains intact. On the other hand, when it appears that things are going to be bad no matter how much effort I put in, I fight the tendency to become selfish, lethargic and apathetic. And I have noticed I am not alone.
I recently met a young man with admirable potential and some impressive traits. He is taking courageous steps to discipline his life and challenging his peers to live with excellence. He has set ambitious goals for himself which will require significant focus and effort. His communication skills, while still in development, are ahead of most of his contemporaries. It is easy to look at this young man and conclude, “There is hope for the next generation because they will be led by individuals like this.” But, he is distracted by recent events. His parents got divorced which has him thinking, “Does this happen to everyone in my family? My grandparents are both on second marriages and now my parents are done. Is this going to happen to me also?” To be sure, he has the drive and raw talent to change the pattern in his life but he is wrestling to find the hope that he can actually do things differently.
His story, of course, is not unique. Many young people are dealing with their parents’ divorce. Spouses are wondering what happened to the loving, cooperative relationship we once had and will we ever get it back? Qualified individuals are struggling to find work. Hard working couples are finding it difficult to keep up with their bills. Some people have been through horrendous experiences that have left deep emotional scars that make it hard to trust. Still others are living in conditions that no human should have to endure. The one thing we all have in common is we need hope. We need to know that better days are coming.
God has always known this so He sprinkled promises of hope throughout the Bible. In Isaiah 11 and 12 we encounter a repeated phrase designed to remind all of us that hope is always alive. The phrase is “in that day.” It is a reference to the day when Jesus sets up His kingdom on earth and changes everything about life. In this passage, the phrase reminds us:
• We are going to be governed by a great leader. (Isaiah 11:10) “the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples.”
• We will live without personal turmoil. (Isaiah 12:1-2) “Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away . . . the LORD himself is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.”
• We will celebrate because we have been set free. (Isaiah 12:3-6) “In that day you will say . . . Give praise to the LORD . . . Sing to the LORD . . . Shout aloud . . . for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”
God’s goal is to give people hope so they do not lose heart.
Jesus, remind me of your promises today. Let the knowledge that I am secure for eternity keep my heart vibrant, my motivation steady and my convictions active.

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