This picture of Jesus is from a movie called The Matthew Project. The first time I watched it, I was blown away by their representation of Jesus. It was literally the very first time I saw Jesus smiling and laughing in a movie. I cried and cried when I saw it because it touched my heart so much to see Jesus show human emotions. I had such a hard time wrapping my brain around watching Jesus laugh and cry and hug people. I know that this might sound weird to some of you, but this movie opened my eyes to see aspects of Jesus that I had been blind to. My view of Jesus was changed just by watching this movie.
I have struggled off and on in my life with the concept of hope. I have had many days in my life that I didn’t have any hope or see anything changing in my near future to give me hope. My problems seemed so big that I couldn’t see around them. Have you ever felt that way? I spent so much time looking for hope that I didn’t realize I already had it. My focus was on people changing or my circumstances changing instead of looking at my Savior and what He was doing in me.
I think we have hope the day we accept Christ into our hearts. Once I heard a definition of hope meaning Jesus in us. I really did’t understand what that meant until a few years ago. My problem was that I kept putting my expectations on people and circumstances instead of being satisfied with the way God was handling the problems. I kept hoping things would change and then when they didn’t, I lost my hope. When you lose hope, you lose your ability to deal with life. I had to switch my focus to looking at the Lord and what His word says and not what He was or wasn’t doing in my life. My hope needed to be in Him alone and trust Him to deal with everything in my life. I realized that I had to put my hope in Him no matter what the circumstances were.
I know when you don’t have hope you want to throw in the towel and say, “Enough!” I have done that myself a few times. But, I have also hung in there because I knew deep down inside that there would be rewards if I did. Philip Yancy writes, “Relationships gain strength when they are stretched to the breaking point and do not break.” So, when my relationship with Jesus Christ is stretched to the limit, I gain the strength I didn’t have before. He gives me the strength and the hope to carry on. When you think about it, a relationship with Christ is the only one you will ever have that will completely give you everything you need to handle your circumstances. He is the only one equipped to give you all the tools you need to handle any situation or anyone in your life.
I had to quit putting my hope in everything else but Christ. For example, I kept wishing and hoping that my Dad would change and act like a loving father. Because I did that, I was severely disappointed. That wasn’t a bad thing to hope for, but I put all my hope in him changing and he never did. I prayed for him all the time and tried to reason with him, but sadly he wouldn’t change. I couldn’t figure out why. I still don’t know why. I finally had to let it go because it was consuming my life. I wanted him to change until the day he died. But I realized that I was hoping more for him to change than anything else in my life. His change became more important than my relationship with Christ. I had to let it go and put my hope in God’s plan.
Instead of letting people or circumstance eat me alive, I had to change. The secret to a happy and abundant life on earth is to find my happiness, contentment and satisfaction in Christ. I had to start viewing myself as a warrior because of Christ in me. I had to draw my strength and comfort from Him instead of people. My relationship with Christ had to be my number one priority. When you look at the disciples living and following Christ, they got to spend every minute with Him and learn from Him and watch Him work in people’s lives. We can do the same thing and when we do, we find our delight in Him instead of people and circumstances.
I need to seek Him more than the answers. Henry Cloud says, “It means believing in the character of God even more than you believe in your desired outcome. If we do not trust, we are limited to our own resources and we weren’t created to do it all on our own.” He also says, “Happiness is a result of what you believe and what you do, not a result of what happens to you.” So, I choose to believe God. I choose to have hope in Him and not dwell on what has happened in the past.
To sum it all up, this is my prayer. “You are my God. You are the God of the Universe and You are behind me. I have the power to face what I need to face because I have You. You will enable me to handle anything that I encounter in my life. I might not like it, but You are there with me and will help me. You want me to have hope in You. You will never leave me and are right by my side. I find so much comfort in this truth. Thank you for loving me and wanting to do life with me. I would be lost without You. You are my rock and my fortress. You are my help in times of trouble. I am not able to live this life without You, nor would I want to. You are my friend and companion at all times. I love being able to call you friend, Abba Father and Savior. You know what my needs are before I even speak them. You are ready to help me before I even ask. You give me truth and show me the path that is right for me. Why would I want anyone else in my corner but you? Help me live my days learning from You; listening to You; living for You and delighting in You. Help me to find my hope in You alone. Thank you for loving me!”
Dear friends, I pray you find hope in God. I pray that you read His truth and delight in His words. This world is a very scary place, but we have hope because He has overcome the world. Until next time…..
Psalm 32:7 “You are my hiding place; You protect me from trouble. You surround me with joyful shouts of deliverance.”
Jeremiah 31:33 “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
Psalm 62:5 “My soul, waits silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.”