By Tim Purcell, Superintendent of the Iowa/Minnesota District of the Wesleyan Church
“… Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” — Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)
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Ever think about the connection between hope and power? Isaiah did. He knew that the key to renewing strength was to, first of all, renew hope.
Perhaps you are familiar with the story of a small village that was soon to be submerged where a lake was to be built. One day a visitor came through town and noticed how neglected everything looked. He asked one of the residents why they had let everything run down so badly.
The resident answered, “Why paint, put on new roofs and fix things up when soon it’s all going to be washed away?”
That night the visitor wrote in his journal, “Where there is no hope for the future, there is no power for the present.”
It’s true. No hope, no power. When you separate hope from the future, you separate power from the present. Hope is the engine of change.
Think about it. When a couple has given up hope for their marriage, they quit trying. When you think you’ll never get ahead financially, you don’t think twice before reaching for the credit card. When you are discouraged about your weight, you give up going to the gym, and you don’t think twice before reaching for that second piece of dessert.
It’s really true; where there is no hope for the future there is no power for the present.
Fair enough. But how do I renew my hope? I can’t just will myself to be a hopeful person. It’s not as simple as just deciding to be hopeful.
My relationship with God is what gives me hope. I know that God is sovereign and that He is working out His plan and purpose in my life. In other words, no matter what kinds of setbacks I experience, I don’t give up because I know that in the end I will overcome.
That hope for the future really does give me power for the present.
As long as you depend on your own ingenuity and strength, you’ll struggle with hope because there are so many things that are out of your control. But as you submit to the will and purposes of God, through Jesus Christ, you will find new hope, and with that hope, new power for living.
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“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” — Romans 15:13 (NIV)