I don’t remember all the details of that day – but that moment is deeply etched into my memory.
It was a dark day. The room was darker still with the curtains drawn and the lights out. I collapsed into my couch exhausted by the weight of the emotions and challenges over the past few months. My dear grandmother had passed away. Our sweet dog died. I was having physical pains that doctors dismissed. Financial worries put pressure on my husband and me. Life seemed so bleak.
As I sat crumpled into the couch, my mind roamed back and forth over everything that had happened over the previous few months and my mood was as dark as the room around me. No sounds except my breathing filled the air. Days like this always brought up the many tragedies I have experienced in my life, but this day was different. I didn’t cry. I felt numb. I just sat there in the living room alone.
Quietly, a thought entered my mind. It slowly crept into my thoughts like the first glimmer of the morning sun.
“Things are about to get so much better. Life is about to take some really good turns for you.”
A quick laugh of disbelief jumped from within me, “Ha! Yeah, right…”
Just as quickly as the laugh another realization hit me. Deep down I knew I was at a crossroads. Like many people, hopeful thoughts had entered my mind before, but I had quickly brushed them aside. I would scoff in my mind or sometimes out loud at the ridiculousness of hope when life was in such a mess. In years past, when someone would offer me a hopeful thought or encouraging words, I would quickly begin to debate the idea of hope in my mind. How? Why? When? I would allow the weight of the present circumstances quickly squash any hope for change.
But that day the thought entered so quietly yet confidently. I let it ring in my hears and my heart for a few moments. It wasn’t a bright shining light of hope. Angels didn’t sing and the earth didn’t shake.
It was just a thought – a hope filled idea – and I knew I had a choice at that moment to take the thought, to choose hope, and to attach my faith to the encouragement or dismiss it once again.
I dared to choose hope that day. I began to stir myself up with hope and made a quality decision that day to believe that things were going to get better.
I began to look in the Bible for messages of hope. I encouraged myself with the countless stories of people reaching the end of their rope then hearing a message of hope from God, believing Him, and seeing Him work on their behalf.
“If He would do it for them, why not for me?”
I’d love to tell you that within days that everything changed, but the truth is within a few days the only thing that had changed was me. Oh, how I changed. I was hopeful. My faith was growing. I started having more joy, more peace, more patience! Hope doused out my worries & fears. Hope increased my faith. And faith – as the Bible says – overcomes the world. (1 John 5:4)
Over time, the hope spread in my household. My husband, my children, and I began to speak of brighter days and stir ourselves up with the promises of God to take care of us – to give us a future & a hope! (Jeremiah 29:11)
Hope started by changing us. Hope inspired our faith. Hope helped us let go of our fears & doubts. Hope helped us overcome our impatience, bitterness, and unforgiveness. Hope matters. Hope is real.
And yes. Our lives have changed. God has healed my body. He has answered so many prayers. He has brought us peace, fulfillment, prosperity, and joy. When we face challenges now or days seem dark, we seek out hope in God’s word, we choose hope, and we hold on to hope.
I wasn’t looking for hope that dark day in my living room. I know now that God dropped a message of hope in my heart. It was my choice that day whether to believe it and see it come to pass in my life – or dismiss it once again and keep living from despair to despair without hope.
Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”
Jesus said, “So be it unto you according to your faith.” (Matthew 9:29)
The Bible is full of encouragement to renew our mind (Romans 12:1), guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23), and choose carefully what you think on (Philippians 4:8).
When hope comes to you in a thought, in a message from a friend, or even on a billboard, grab that hope. Choose to believe it. DARE to believe it. Then start building your faith by spending time in the Bible and seeing how good God is! Surround yourself with encouraging & hope filled believers! Faith receives what God’s grace provides. Hope is the spark that starts it all.
Don’t dismiss hope. Please, if you found a spark of hope in my writing today, grab it and dismiss any thoughts that would depress you or cause you to draw back in fear. Seek God. Spend time in the Word. Listen to hope filled messages that are full of God’s grace. Watch how they begin to change your heart and your life. God is good.
Believe it and you will see it.