“Our world today so desperately hungers for hope, yet uncounted people have almost given up. There is despair and hopelessness on every hand. Let us be faithful in proclaiming the hope that is in Jesus.”
Hope. It’s an intriguing word. Merriam-Webster defines it as a “desire accompanied by expectation” or “someone or something on which desires ae centered.” An individual who hopes is described as someone who is eagerly waiting for or trusting in what has yet to be revealed. Sadly, as Billy Graham expressed all too clearly in the 2013 post above, far too many people have been looking for hope without knowing exactly where to find it. Ten years later, that desperate hunger has only heightened.
Fortunately, the Lord in His goodness offers hope to everyone, everywhere. See how Romans 15:13 explains how you and I can tap into this incredible resource:
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
During the past few years, this has become a touchstone verse for me—one I keep going back to again and again for inspiration and reassurance. I’m encouraged that the Creator of everything, including hope, gives us the ability to trust Him to offer assistance in good times, bad
times, and those long, often monotonous, in between times. He also miraculously provides peace and joy in the midst of all seasons of life. The only task we’re given is to completely trust in Him. So, God offers positive outcomes, but we have a part to play in receiving those blessings.
This simple formula is an integral part of Sonkist Ministries’ new book, I Choose Hope!
Here’s an excerpt to give you a glimpse of how this fifth book in the I Choose! series can encourage you and others in your life who need more hope too:
At this point in my life, I’m more convinced than ever that everyone has the choice to live more optimistically—if that is what they truly desire. In other words, making the choice to be more hopeful rests totally on you. No one can take away the hopeful attitude you want to have—but no one else can give it to you either.
So, you may be wondering at this point, “If I can choose to be more hopeful, how do I get started?” One of the most essential lessons I learned in my own I Choose journey is that I need to respond to life rather than react. Reacting is something we do rapidly or instinctively, often without thinking. Now, I recognize that some responses must be rapid—for instance, if a child tries to dart into a busy road, you’ll probably do everything possible to retrieve him or her immediately. If something catches fire on the stove, you will try to extinguish it right away. Most situations in life, however, do not require such spontaneous responses, but many of us employ this “put out the fire” strategy far too readily as we interact with people or handle everyday problems. What I’d like to recommend is, instead of being in a constant state of reacting, begin implementing a simple strategy I call the I Choose Formula:
Stop + Think + Respond
Let’s take a few minutes and apply this formula to the topic at hand. No doubt you are dealing with at least one dilemma where there appears to be little or no hope. Perhaps you are having difficulties in your marriage or are facing challenges with your children. Maybe you have aging parents you’re caring for, or you are trying to assist friends or family members who are struggling. Have you lost your job? Is your spouse underemployed or unemployed? Finances alone have been tough for many of us in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet even when dealing with these kind of problems, you and I have the opportunity to pause, process and then proceed rather than immediately react to people or problems. By implementing the I Choose Formula, we can take a step back, analyze and think through the situation, and then respond to the circumstances differently than we may have in the past. This process often involves replacing old ineffective patterns with new productive ones that can yield much better results. The problem person or challenging issue doesn’t necessarily go away, but our negative outlook and ineffective problem solving can …
Can we live more optimistic, hope-filled lives? Yes! I Choose Hope! will help you learn how to develop a more hopeful outlook and increase your level of perseverance. Using the Bible as the foundation for this hopeful development process, we’ll explore the lives of individuals who learned how to survive and thrive, even in the midst of the most challenging of life’s circumstances. In addition, each chapter includes a “Hopeful Thinking” section so you or the group you’re leading can practically apply the strategies provided throughout the book.
The team at Sonkist Ministries trusts that you’ll find I Choose Hope! to be as reassuring and relevant as other books in our I Choose! series. Click here to discover more about this tool for increasing your “confident hope,” or explore our Resources section at www.Sonkist.com for additional materials that may be of assistance to you, your family, your friends, and your church community.
Thought of the Season
Lead me by Your truth and teach me, for You are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in You.
Psalm 25:5, NLT