Where do you hang your hope? On Sunday, Steve talked about how important it is to pay attention to where we are anchoring ourselves. When we anchor our hope on God, we will never fall. It may seem like there is no end to our troubles, or maybe we can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, but we can rest assured that God is there, and He can see where we are headed. Our troubles may not change, but our interpretation of those troubles and the promise of all things working for our good (Romans 8:28) can change our outlook.
The Israelites had been looking and waiting for centuries for the Hope that was to come. Some gave up because it was just taking too long. Some believed God had forgotten about them. But God does not work with the same limited view that we have. He can see everything past, present, and future all at the same time. His omniscience gives him a view that is unfathomable, and the fact that He continues to love us even though He knows everything we have done and will do is mind-boggling. Even though His timing is not always what we want, we can remind ourselves that everything happens when it is supposed to.
When we look at the story of Joseph in Genesis chapters 37-45 we see Joseph in trouble after trouble, none of it of his own making. Sometimes things seemed like they were going well and might turn around, but then something else bad happened. Lies were told regarding his character, he was jailed and forgotten, but he remained faithful and continued to ask God what He wanted him to do right where he was.
There aren’t many of us who would stay as positive as Joseph seemed to. There is no record of him complaining to God about his situation. (And we do have plenty of pages in the Bible of other people doing a lot of complaining.) We have a tendency to get grumpy if our coffee isn’t as hot as we think it should be or our lunch order isn’t exactly the way we wanted it. The more we can focus on being in the moment and keeping our minds on the fact that whatever comes our way is an opportunity to grow or shine God’s love, the easier it is to maintain our hope and joy. Our interpretation of the hardship changes when we look to our Anchor.
The next time something negative happens, like someone driving slowly in front of us, think of what might be happening to them. Maybe they are a new driver nervous about the snow, maybe they are wrapped up in worries of how they’ll pay for heat or food, maybe they are distracted by the bad news they just got. Maybe the person is just a terrible driver, but that’s not our problem to fix. Let’s give others the benefit of the doubt even when they don’t deserve it. Our attitude toward them is the only thing we can change. Remember where your focus should be.
As we move forward day after day with our hope in God alone, people will notice the difference in us. When we are patient and gentle in the midst of stress or problems, they will ask why, and we will have an opportunity to share the difference God has made in our lives. Our hope may seem crazy to a world struggling with worries and anxiety, but as we share how God has been faithful to us through the fires we have gone through, we can pray that He will reveal Himself to them as well. Let us not keep our hope to ourselves. It is a glorious thing we need to share with everyone!