Commitment to Hope
COMMITMENT TO HOPE
By John and Beth Reese
A. Hope, Despite a Fallen World
1. A World of Choice- (Proverbs 22:6). Yet… (Joshua 24:15).
2. A Fallen World- (1 John 5:19; 2 John 1:4).
There are biblical examples of parents who had godly beginnings, but whose children went astray: Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Eli, Solomon, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah and, of course, David (2 Samuel 18:33). Note, however, that these examples cover many centuries and that many of these fathers had the extra pressures of public leadership. They also lacked the added proofs, perspectives and blessings of the Gospel age.
3. A World of Crises
4. A World of False Ways to Cope
f. Withdrawal (Don’t communicate. Assume the worst.)
g. Over-eating (Some eating is okay, but develops other problems.)
h. Shopping (Looking is okay, but lots of spending can create trouble.)
v Difficulties will come as part of the nature of life in a fallen world. Be ready for the fact that crisis will occur.
v The extended family has traditionally been the support group for families and their needs.
v Because many have moved away from the extended family, each family unit must become more self-sufficient. The family needs to learn how to accept and ask for help.
v Stress sometimes displays itself in anger and frustration.
v Stress and crisis can include moving, sickness or injury, trouble in school, lost job, depression, births, deaths, estrangement, separation or divorce, imprisonment, retirement, heavy debt, or any major life change. (The Holmes-Rahe Scale even lists Christmas.)
v Learn how to relieve stress before an explosion occurs.
v Look for the stress inducers. Get rid of them if possible or get them under control.
v Keep things in perspective. e.g. This too will pass.
B. Hope in God
1. God is bigger than any problem we could have (1 Peter 1:21; 1 John 3:19-20; 4:4; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Romans 8:31).
2. God loves us (Romans 8:35-39; 1 Peter 5:7; Philippians 4:6-7).
3. God forgives us (Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 1:14,22).
4. God comforts us (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
v Remember that above all, God is there to help us and carry us through our struggle.
v As Christians, you will be treated to varying levels of criticism, scrutiny, and ridicule. Make sure that, at home, you help each other to be built up with well-deserved compliments and praise.
v The couple needs to work on a family platform (core values). When there are good values at the core it is easier for the family to put other things into perspective.
v Be real about how you feel, but also set an example of how to overcome fear and worry by faith in God’s protection and provision.
C. Hope in History
1. To teach us (Romans 15:4).
2. Examples: (Hebrews 11:13).
a. Joseph – trauma of pit, loss of sibling support, loss of ability to communicate with family for a long period, crises of prison, etc.
b. Job – loss of possessions, death of children, loss of health, loss of friends, as well as his wife not being supportive or helpful, etc.
c. Moses – all babies sentenced to death, favor in Pharaoh’s court, rejected by his adopted family, rejected by his race, interracial marriage, etc.
3. God continues to work today (Hebrews 11:8).
v Let good Bible characters be your family’s heroes.
v Pass on your own stories of God’s care and answers to prayers.
D. Hope Takes Action
1. Pray (Philippians 4:6-7).
2. Seek God’s wisdom (James 1:5).
3. Meditate. Turn your mind to positive things. Counting your many blessings (Philippians 4:8-9).
4. Come away for a while (step back, think, re-group) (Mark 6:31).
5. Look at the big picture (Isaiah 46:10; 55:11).
6. Look for the blessings (James 1:2; Philippians 1:12).
7. Pro-actively seek and work on solutions (Philippians 2:12-13).
v Most of the things we worry about never happen. Open the lines of communication to talk about the problems. Most things are not as bad as we can imagine them to be.
v Learn to turn things over to God. Let Him take care of the problem.
v After looking at the big picture, learn to divide things into manageable portions in order to get things done.
v Learn to laugh or use humor to relieve tension.
v Be adaptable and flexible.
v Families shoulder the burdens together.
v One person can seek help, but it is really great when whole families can then seek help from others.
v Be willing to use community help that is available (child care, schools, Sunday school, activities, even places to go). Families will find that this help will vary from place to place.
E. Hope in Love
is patient and kind.
is not irritable, does not keep a record of past wrongs.
always protects [bears all things, is supportive in every situation].
always trusts [believes all things].
always hopes [hopes all things, is always hopeful].
always perseveres [endures all things, endures through every circumstance] (1 Corinthians 13:7).
Love never fails! [Love never comes to an end] (1 Corinthians 13:8).
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.But the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).