Hope for Every Day
She had missed the point. Now she was ostracized; she knew it and acted as such. Inside she felt rather empty. Broken relationships had crushed her sense of belonging and her picture
of love was quite fractured.
His success in life had been
enormous, but was torn down by a number of catastrophes over an extremely short
time. Here he was. His so called ‘friends’ asked him what his hidden sins were,
and his wife told him to curse God and die.
It is, however, not enough for a steward of hope to visit these texts and share the stories. We need to internalize them and in turn, share our own story.
What hope would you give her if
you met her? What hope would you bring him? Maybe you have experienced
something like it. Or maybe you know some who have. These stories are from real
life, written in the Bible. They are outstanding in their hopelessness, but
these themes are also repeated again and again throughout history. Many lead
lives of hopelessness.
These stories are deep because
they also bring hope. The woman at the well, in John chapter 4, met Jesus and
that changed her life into a life filled with meaning and hope.
Job met God at a deeper level and that changed his life.
It is, however, not enough for
a steward of hope to visit these texts and share the stories. We need to
internalize them and in turn, share our own story. Then we will be sharing real hope—a hope that changes us and
others as well—a hope that will bring new life. Without even thinking about it,
we will be a steward of hope. Hope will have become a part of who we are. Hope is not something reserved for
times of crisis. As can be seen in
the stories of Job and the woman at the well, hope can fill every day.
The Story of
In the book of Job we are
allowed to look behind the scenes,
There we can clearly see that Satan has set out to harass Job. The
supporters of Job, however, reason that Job’s misfortune has come because there
is sin in his life. With this perspective it is only
natural to believe that God is required to punish him. To make matters worse, his wife sees no
point in serving a God who treats him like that. Job himself says, however, that sin in his life is not the
cause for his calamities. He claims that he still has a relationship with his
merciful redeemer, but he still asks God why this is happening (Job 1:6-12;
4:7-8; 2:9; 19:3-4.25-27; 23:3-5).
I find the spiritual highlight
in chapter 38-42, where God talks to Job and Job gives his response: “. . . now
my eyes see you (Job 42:5),” and this is said by a man who already knows God.
The Lord’s speech has touched something very deep inside Job. He now sees God in a way he had never seen Him before, and with a
feeling of connection to the Lord he had never felt before. Job also confirms
his understanding of God: “I know that you can do everything” (Job 42:2).
“Then the Lord answered Job,”
but God didn’t tell him about Satan’s part in the drama. He didn’t answer Job’s ‘why’ question. No, the Lord answered Job in a completely different way.
What is it precisely that the
Lord told Job? In Job 38:1, we find: “Then the Lord answered Job,” but God didn’t tell him about Satan’s part
in the drama. He didn’t answer Job’s ‘why’ question. No, the Lord answered Job
in a completely different way.
Himself to Job
God answered Job by revealing
Himself to Job. Through descriptions of scenes in nature, God reveals to Job
His might, His creative power, His wisdom, and how He is in control and able to set the boundaries in
this world. Job’s confidence in
God is renewed. His trust is deepened—deeper than it has ever been. All Job can
do is exclaim: “But now my eye sees you.”
The Woman at
The woman from Sychar came to
Jacobs’s well in the middle of the day, a time when nobody else went. She could
go unnoticed at the hottest time of the day and avoid meeting the judgemental glances and questions that no doubt would greet
her. Because of her lifestyle she might not have liked herself but meeting
Jesus changed all of that.. In one short conversation, she was taken from
slavery to freedom from feeling
condemned to being a new person. This was a wonderful transition process and we can learn much from the account
in John 4:4-42.
First of all, Jesus showed her
respect. As a Jew, He might not have liked her for being a Samaritan, and as a
man, He might not have had much consideration for her as a woman, but He
regarded her as something of value, by asking a favor of her: “Give Me a
drink,” He said. Secondly, He
broadened her perspective by offering her a remedy, she was really in need
of—“living water”, and He leads her to “thirst” for it. Thirdly, when she asks
for the remedy, he goes straight to her point of slavery: Men, too many men in
her life. Maybe this was not her first issue, but it does point to her chain of unhealthy life-patterns which are
keeping her enslaved. Finally, when she turns religious, Jesus corrects her
prejudice and tells her where she needs to change: “Salvation comes from the
Jews,” He says, revealing Himself to her as the Messiah, the Savior, the One
coming to fulfill all the promises she knew, and the only One able to supply
that Living Water.
Again we find that God answers
human questions by revealing Himself to us: Who He is, and what He is like. He
also reveals what is in us, and what we need to change.
The perspectives found in these
stories have changed my way of thinking about God, and this has increased my
sense of hope in everyday life. I
have more confidence in Jesus. I trust Him more. It is easier for me to allow Him to be God. I no longer need to know everything. It is more important for me to know Him.
When He reveals Himself,
I know that He is there. I know that He is in control.
I know my other issues will be sorted out in His perfect way. That is where
I find hope for every day. It is then that
I am filled with hope. My trust is now
In my spiritual life, my desire
is first and foremost for God to reveal Himself to me. I can set at rest my
eagerness for His answers, His guidance, His solving my issues because of this
one thing: When He reveals Himself, I know that He is there. I know that He is in control. I know my other issues will be sorted
out in His perfect way. That is where I find hope for every day. It is then that I am filled with hope.
My trust is now in Him!
Secondly, I know that behind
all that He does is His purpose to show me that He loves me. I pray for a
recognition of His love. When I sense this reality, I’m filled by His loving
presence. With that realization I can handle anything. Nothing, then, is too big for me for I am filled by
God’s love and all that it represents.
Thirdly, I surrender my bruises
to Him. I allow Him to touch the sore parts of my life, so that I will be
healed. Doing so can be painful. Like the woman at the well, I often like to
hide my hurts rather than placing them where He can heal them. When He does I am set free—really free.
Lastly, I open my mind so I can
listen to His explanations, His theology and His ways. I want the Jesus He is,
not the ‘Jesus’ I create.
By applying this biblical
pattern of searching for answers and then finding more of the fullness of God
as did Job and the woman at the well, then hope, love, peace and satisfaction
fill my heart. It seems He has plenty to share because He continues to fill me
more and more with revelations of His love.
I have learned that one way of incorporating these
principles into my life is by prayerfully writing down on paper my reflections
about these stories and by addressing them directly to Jesus. I ask Jesus to
unfold His Word to me in the process. I reflect over a single sentence or a few
sentences at a time. This allows Him to fill me with hope and love as I go through each text. I am confident you
will find the blessings I have found. His love will shine through you. You will
carry the hope He inspires in your own life. It will be a blessing to others as you share this hope.