Hold On To Hope
I will never forget when I was a little girl we had a place at the beach of Salter Path NCI I had been playing with my older brother and his friends. One of the older girls was smoking and asked me if I wanted a puff. I was nine years old! I said yes. My brother did not tell on my right then. He held it over my heard for about a year or so! I had to do everything he said and hope I did not make him too mad or I would hear, "I'm going to tell Dad that you smoked!" I was petrified.
Finally after a year or so he threatened me for the last time. We were at my grandmother's and I walked downstairs crying and told Dad I needed to talk to him. I told him I had smoked a cigarette and that I was sorry. Of course, I told him that Till had been threatening me for the past year. I remember Dad thanked me for telling him. That was it! I could not believe it! The relief was overwhelming. Till got a big lecture that day. A lot of lessons learned that day!
During that year It was never far from my mind. At that time I would not have been able to put this next sentence into words. The regret of a poor decision was controlling many areas of my life! If my dad was here I would love to share today's blog with him. I doubt he would remembered that day and I bet he would laugh. So what has changed since I was nine years old? Not much! I still do dumb stuff and hold on to it for way to long. Finally, when I go to God with my mess up and repent I am overwhelmed at the relief. And you know He remembers it no more!
When we were in the Holy Land we saw the field of blood where Peter hung himself. He had denied Jesus not once but three times! Think about Peter and Judas. Even though they were disciples, chosen by Jesus, they were human and they still sinned. The difference between Peter and Judas's downfall is that Judas let his life end in despair. His hopelessness led him to see himself beyond the realm of God's mercy and forgiveness. That is the real tragedy.
Peter's mourning includes a glimmer of hope through God's infinite mercy. Because of this feeling Peter was able to "start over." God's grace helped him come face to face with his own weakness. Peter seemed to mess up more than the other disciples but he repented every time. Each time he went back to Jesus in humility and faith.
After seeing the field of blood I started thinking about Judas. What is the difference between Peter's sin, Judas' sin, Jill's sin and your sin? None. We just sin in different ways. By putting ourselves first when it's us or the Lord. Or putting ourselves ahead of others to get what we want.
When we find ourselves hopeless we are putting our faith in ourselves. Judas killed himself in horror at his betrayal of Jesus. He was not putting his hope in Jesus. We have all felt hopeless at some time. Jesus is the answer to hopelessness. Jesus is the answer to struggles. Jesus is the answer to emptiness. Jesus is the answer to fear. He will get you through whatever you are facing. Psalm 147: 11, "...the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love."
We are told in Scripture to look to Him for hope. Psalm 25: 5, " Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long". Joshua 1: 9, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
God is able to bring hope into your life even when everything looks hopeless! Jeremiah 29: 11, "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." Trust in the Lord!