Have you ever thought about hope and how important it is? What would happen if we were without hope? Hope helps us push through the hard times by focusing on where we are headed instead of the mud hole we might be in the moment. Hope is a powerful thing. It was so important to the apostle Paul that it was one of the three attributes that he used to meter the level of a churches spiritual maturity. If you remember correctly he speaks about three specific attributes multiple times throughout the New Testament. Faith, Hope, and Love. If these three things were strong in a church they had become mature in there spiritually. Today we will focus more on hope, but keep in mind that hope ultimately is faith in the future tense. Interesting to think about it in that way. To have faith that something will come to fruition in the future is, hope.
A powerful story of hope comes from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The story is about a tree rising above a tragedy that claimed the lives of 168 people including 19 children under the age of 6. On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh detonated a bomb in his truck just a short distance from this 100 year old elm. The blast took down the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and buried this tree under the rubble. Shrapnel was buried deep in its trunk and bark, and its limbs scorched black. With one side completely torn from the tree and it being nearly burned completely from the fires the tree was thought to never survive.
Something amazing happened. The tree began to bud and sprout new leaves. The tree which became known as “The Survivor Tree” became a symbol of hope for the families and peoples lives who were forevermore changed on that day. The tree now is a great symbol that many travel from afar to see and get photographs with their families. It’s little saplings have been sent to many other places who have faces tragedies as well including: September 11 ground zero and Columbine High School and many others. It is amazing how this symbol of hope stands tall in spite of hardship. As the little buds were sprouting things were not instantly better in Oklahoma, but it showed them that a new day will come. To give up would make all for nothing, but to stand tall gives the hope power and that hope spreads quickly.
Hope is not a dream but a way of making dreams a reality – L. J. Suenens
Many will be without hope but is up to us to stand like the tree in our adversities to be a light to those who have lost hope. Paul knew how important it is for the Christians to have hope in God’s promises in His Word so he held them accountable.
To lose hope is to lose everything, but with hope a man can endure anytning.
The ultimate hope is in Christ, because it blankets you in His power of forgiveness. The hope of His salvation gives us victory over spiritual death and the ability to dwell eternally with Him. This hope is so powerful that we are not to hold it back from others because it gives everyone freedom to live an abundant life because their eternity is secure. Being an overcomer because Christ has already overcome everything. Sharing your hope with others as in 1 Peter 3:15 – But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
Stand tall as “The Survivor Tree” does to be the Hope for many.
Hope is meant to be shared”-Jarrod Radford