This is a message of hope in a time of trouble & uncertainty. Of late, the reader may have just been minding his or her own business, and now feels like he or she just had the bar & harness locked into place as a scary roller coaster ride begins!! Hang on! The entrance to Dante’s Hell announced, “Abandon hope, all you who enter here.” Satan comes to rob, kill & destroy, and his targets include hope & faith. Today’s mass media disorients some of its listeners with distorted negative thinking. Last night at the talk I gave, a Swiss American just back from Switzerland told me how fearful the Swiss people are of Trump. They have been completely convinced he is a dangerous person. Meanwhile, if we are sensitive to what is really happening, we realize Trump is not the threat but rather Obama, who has said he was going to give America “a red wedding”. What is this red wedding Obama speaks of??? In the Game of Thrones, a red wedding was a surprise massacre accomplished by guile & betrayal. Oh my! This roller coaster ride is getting scary! I wonder if that recent General who was suicided was taken out because he did not want to participate in the red wedding massacre of Americans?
SINK OR SWIM…INSTANT DEATH. A red wedding scenario would be a nearly instant death event, like a tsunami wave hitting. My talk last night was on weather modification, earthquakes & tsunamis. But let me share with you my friend a good lesson from WW2 history. Here is what happened… Merchant sailors on allied ships during the Battle of the Atlantic faced almost instant death from U-boat torpedoes striking their ships. Torpedoes came out of nowhere, and brought death & destruction quickly. For instance, two convoys (HX229 & SC122) with 110 merchant ships which sailed east in March, 1943 got caught in a battle w/ 38 U-boats and lost 21 ships sunk. The British navy observed a strange phenomena during the Battle of the Atlantic. The young stronger sailors had a low survival rate, and the older, less physically robust sailors had a far higher survival rate. That was counter-intuitive. This called for research. Here is what they discovered: The younger stronger sailors had less experience with emergencies, so they did 2 things that hurt them, they panicked and they thought they needed to save themselves. The older sailors, who had more experience, did not try to save themselves but worked together and had more hope from the beginning. (Reminds me of the Bible verse that says victory doesn’t go to the strong or swift.) Hope yields benefits! Hope has been studied and it has been shown that hope improves one’s ability to problem solve, and to have enhanced creativity. “For we are saved by hope…”(A)
COURAGE & FAITH. A number of traits cluster together and result in other traits. Hope requires faith. Likewise, hope will birth faith, and faith will birth love. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for…” (B) Hope provides meaning to life. Hope inspires people to live clean godly lives: “And everyman that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”(C) Hope was discovered to be a more accurate predictor of college success for college students than excellent grades in high school, high ACT grades or intelligence. Do we sense the “great love [that] the Father has bestowed upon us”?(D) On the flip side, negative thoughts filter out the positive from being seen. Fear quenches faith & hope. But what is deserving of our faith & hope? Life is hard; God triumphs! So God is the obvious answer. And is hope the same as wishful thinking? No, wishful thinking is just that. Unrealistic expectations are not hope. Hope is an active thing. Hope begins with me and my relationship with God. Faith & love are active things. Hope, faith & love are grounded in the truth of Jesus Christ. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”(E) “The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”(F)
LEADERS IN HOPE. In Europe, the importance of leaders who instill hope (instilling meaning to goals & life) have special names: in French, they are called porteur de sens (“bearer of meaning”) and in German Sinnträger. We need leaders who will inspire others to have hope, faith & love. “You are the light of the world.”(G) Christ said that if you believed, then you would do greater works that he did!(H)
FINAL THOUGHT. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”(I)
(A) ROM 8:24 (B) HEB 11:1a (C) 1 JN 3:3 (D) 1 JN 3:1-3 (E) 2 TIM 1:7 (F) HEB 13:6 (G) MT 5:14 (H) JN 14:12 (I) HEB 4:16