The alarm system began to make strange noises and I got up to see what was happening. It didn’t take long to realize that the wind and storms had caused a power failure. I was up at 4 o’clock in the morning and the Keurig was plugged in but out of commission. Some Monday mornings are just better than others.
I thought about working on a blog post, but I wasn’t sure when the power would return. I didn’t want to use too much of the computer battery so I simply reported the outage and turned it off. An hour later, I heard the trucks in the alley and saw a spotlight on the pole outside. Hope. I would smell that first cup of coffee soon.
Later, the power restored, I watched the morning news and saw photos of the homes that had been destroyed by Texas tornadoes. I saw the devastation in Nepal after a terrible earthquake and I saw a story in my morning paper about a new book, simply titled Hope.
Hope is the new book by Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, two of the three young women that were held hostage in Cleveland for ten years. The article said they grew tired of hearing other people report their story and describe their feelings. They wanted people to understand what they had endured at the hands of their captor, Ariel Castro, from their perspective.
Amanda and Gina have become friends even though their captor did everything he could to make them enemies. I cannot imagine the horror they and their families experienced. They were treated with cruelty everyday for ten years. They each spoke of a time when they gave up hope and just wanted to die. For Amanda, it was the night Castro put a wire around her neck and she thought she would die. For Gina, it was a time when Castro put one bullet in a gun and played a game of Russian roulette with her life. Both girls walked away from those experiences with a determination to survive. That is why the book is titled Hope.
I saw the morning news and my own power outage seemed abundantly insignificant. I was glad when the power came on, but I never once thought that it wouldn’t. I had hope. The girls that were held captive didn’t have hope, they chose to hope. That choice made a huge difference in their lives and they wanted to share that story with the world.
I sometimes forget that Christians have hope every day. We don’t choose hope if we have chosen Jesus as our Lord; hope is the promise of God. I didn’t hope the electrical power would resume. I knew it would. I don’t have to hope that Jesus will return; I know he will.
What gives me pause today is this: do I share my assurance of hope with the people around me? Most of the people I see each day are choosing to hope there is a heaven, just like those two girls chose to hope they would be set free. They made that choice, but did not have an assurance.
Is that similar to the way an unbeliever lives their earthly life? If we don’t share the hope of Christ, are we condemning people to live with choosing to hope when they could have the assurance instead? That thought motivates me today.
Today’s news is full of people who have lost a great deal to tornadoes and earthquakes. Some people have lost everything. For those who have lost someone they love, do they have hope or will they need to choose to hope?
I thought my day had started poorly, at 4 a.m. without a hot cup of coffee. The morning news reminded me that I started my day safely blessed by the Creator God. There is never a moment of any day that I don’t have hope, regardless of what circumstances I encounter.
We have a great gift in Christ that we are called to share with our world. We have the greatest hope to offer and it is a hope that everyone needs. The prophet Jeremiah sent these words to the nation Israel, held captive by Babylon: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart'” (Jeremiah 29:11-13).
The morning news was a powerful reminder that our world needs the assurance of hope. It was also a powerful reminder that God’s people know how to help them find that hope in Christ. People will find God when they seek him and his hope is not a choice – it is a promise.