REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, provided by Pastor Peter Yoon of Kairos Christian Church in San Diego, is an updated version of his blog first posted on May 20, 2014. Peter is a graduate of University of California, Riverside (BA) and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Antidote to ‘Hope is a Dangerous Thing; Hope Can Break Your Heart’”
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
There are numerous customs that reveal that as humans, we “wish” for something. For instance, we tell our children to “make a wish” before blowing out the birthday candles, or find excitement in four- leaf clovers, wishbones, or fortune cookies. These customs show that in our hearts, we all hope.
When we are young, we are full of hope. When we hope for something, we are hoping for a particular outcome: I hope I get that job or get that house; I hope she gets well soon. I hope.
But the truth is, we discover that every “thing” that we hope for will eventually tailspin towards disillusionment. When that happens, we begin to merely manage our hopes by lowering our expectations, so that we do not again taste the bitterness of disappointment. Sadly, that leaves us with a life that is tasteless and unfulfilling. In the movie, The Shawshank Redemption, theprisoner, played by Morgan Freeman, has simply accepted his fate after numerous rejections for early parole. He says: “Hope is a dangerous thing; hope can break your heart.”
Sadly, many believers can develop this same attitude. Unanswered prayers, ministry disappointments, and personal failures can dampen our hope and weaken our faith in God. At this point, it is important to be reminded of what has been done for us. Paul reminds Titus that when we become justified by his grace, we become heirs having the hope of eternal life. It’s a hope that runs deep in our hearts and does not disappoint us (Rom. 5:5). Reflect today on the “kindness and love of God,” “his mercy,” and the “renewal by the Holy Spirit”; and give room for God to lift up hope in your hearts.
Prayer: Lord, I admit that I can fall into a cynical attitude about myself, my church, and even about You. Renew my mind today by the power of the Holy Spirit and nurture a living hope in my heart. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Ecclesiastes 7
Lunch Break Study
Read Luke 2:36-38: There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
Questions to Consider
- How has Anna waited patiently and faithfully without losing hope for the redemption of Jerusalem?
- How does Anna respond to finally seeing with her own eyes the child born for the redemption of Israel?
- How is God teaching and leading you to wait patiently, all the while, instilling a sense of hope that will not disappoint?
- Anna’s worshipping, fasting, and praying is underlined, thus, she is full of thanksgiving at the arrival of the child who will complete God’s promise.
- Anna responds with thanksgiving and speaks about the child. Her teaching would have been heard by all who frequented the temple. Her hope looks to the completion of what God is starting.
- Personal response
Are you still hopeful for your church? Your small group? Your family? Yourself? Determine what has caused the depletion of your hope in these areas and lay those things at Jesus’ feet.