On January 16, 1942, three United States Airmen were forced to ditch in the open sea when their plane ran out of fuel. The three men hardly knew each other. The plane sank quickly and the men were barely able to inflate a tiny (4’x8′) rubber raft and climb onboard before the sea claimed their lives. Incredibly, these three men survived for 32 days under extraordinarily harsh conditions. Their story is recorded in a book entitled simply, “The Raft.” I read the book in high school and it remains one of my very favorite non-fiction books. When the men were asked what kept them alive for a month under extremely harsh conditions they replied, “hope.”
Monday…Surely one of the most beautiful words in our language is, “hope.” A young boy may say that he hopes to get a new bike for Christmas. A young girl may hope for a similar gift. The kind of hope expressed in this way for this reason represents something that may or may not happen. What does it mean when we say that “love always hopes”? To help answer that question, ask yourself this question, “In whom is my hope and does that person love me unconditionally?” Remember, “God is love.”
Tuesday…Thirty-two times in the New Testament the Greek word, “elpidzo” is used. It is translated “hope” but it means more than we may realize. This word, in the contexts in which it is found in the New Testament expressed future certainty. Read that last sentence again and focus on these words, “future certainty.” God loves you and He has promised to save you through Christ Jesus. That is love and that is an absolute certainty!
Wednesday…We know that Christ is our hope. In I Timothy 1:1 we read that very thing! Paul wrote this to Timothy and to you to remind Timothy and all believers that Jesus has saved us and that is true no matter the situation. Remember that when Paul wrote this, Nero was after him and within a very short time, Nero would execute both Paul and Peter. Still, Paul had hope because he understood the relationship between love and hope.
Thursday…We love God and we love others. When we show confidence in others, we we imbue them with hope. My dad told me when I was about fourteen years old that I was going to be a preacher. When I became a minister, he told me (I was about thirty-five) that I was going to be a professor. His love for me gave me hope which propelled me to my goals. The impact of his positive attitude towards me endures to this day.
Friday…Colossians 1:4,5 and I Corinthians 13:13 remind us of the intimate relationship between faith, hope and love. May we love Christ and His people; may we love everyone and realize that Christ loves us and God has saved us.
What a wonderful future we have! What a wonderful hope!