As a person of faith, we can help and comfort people best when we embrace and share the principle that hope is a noun more than a verb.
An important relationship principle in today’s show
We talked in episodes 148 and 149 about what to say and not to say when our friends are going through a hard time in their life. I’ll have links to those episodes in the show notes. Today’s episode is about another important principle to remember in helping our friends who are dealing with difficulties in their life. Keep listening. It will help you, too.
An unspeakable tragedy
In episode 148 I mentioned the missionary who told Janet and me that the baby born to his son and daughter-in-law that morning was stillborn. A healthy heart suddenly stopped beating before birth. The doctors don’t know why. The whole family was in a state of shock and just devastated. The baby was to be our friend’s first grandchild.
We viewed the funeral service online from hundreds of miles away. It was hard to watch. All that heartache seeping out of the baby’s father who spoke of the overwhelmingly painful loss he and his wife had just suffered.
A week or so later our missionary friend’s wife texted to say “these have been very hard days, some almost unbearable, but we are clinging to Jesus with everything we’ve got.” She followed this up with another text where she wrote,
Wisdom from a blog post
I spent some time on a website called “Hope Mommies,” a ministry that focuses on moms who have lost babies/children. One of the blogs shared this:
“Friends sent puzzles and coloring books. Those things were all nice, but they didn't actually fill the time. Your mind is still free to think while completing a puzzle or coloring a picture. I wanted something to occupy my mind so time would pass. In these moments, the comment “time heals all wounds” was not helpful. It felt like time was not moving; it felt like I would never experience healing. The excruciating minutes would linger and linger. If time was my only hope, that felt cruel.
“But thankfully time isn't where our hope lies. Our hope is in Christ Jesus. He met us in our pain and presented us with true peace, that transcends understanding (Philippians 4:7). It is not by the passage of time, but “by His wounds we are healed” (1 Peter 2). We don't have to wait. Even in the midst of our suffering, He offers us hope.
“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.” Psalm 39:7
Hope is a noun more than a verb
This blog post reminded me of a stark difference between people of faith and those who choose to make no room for God in their life. For people of faith, Hope is a noun. For everyone else, Hope is a verb.
People of faith understand that for us, hope is found in the person of Jesus Christ. He’s an anchor that’s rock solid. He’s something and someone that never changes. Jesus is a certainty. He’s a person we can cling to “with everything we’ve got” as my missionary friend put it. Hope as a noun get’s us through our present difficulties. While Jesus hope awaits us in the future, it’s a source of strength to get us through our present difficulties
For everyone else, hope is uncertain, with no guarantees. It varies from person to person. Hope as a verb is inconsistent, subjective, and elusive. It’s about the future, with no help for the present. But for people of faith, hope is a noun more than a verb.
In my book THEM – The Richer Life Found in Caring for Others, I touch upon the questions people have about why God allows bad things to happen to good people. Here’s a brief excerpt:
The goodness of God
I don’t have an answer for these questions. All I know is that God is good, and I cling to this. It is my anchor. It is what gives me hope and what keeps me from going crazy. He is good when life is going well, and He is just as good when everything is not. The goodness of God is not defined or explained by the circumstances in which I find myself.
I also know that even if the worst happens to me here on earth, God will comfort me; He will be compassionate with me. He is the God of all comfort and the father of compassion. We can count on this for sure. Even if the worst happens, God can use it to draw us closer to Himself—if we let Him. He can use it to strengthen us. He may very well make us better people for it. Even if the worst happens, God can use what we go through for greater purposes and reasons than we can ever imagine.
So what does all this mean for YOU?
For a person of faith, how we view Jesus is where the rubber hits the road in dealing with all that life throws at us. Do we know Jesus well enough to view him as an anchor, someone we can cling to when our world begins to unravel?
Here’s the main takeaway I hope you remember from today’s episode
As a person of faith, we can help and comfort people when we embrace and share the principle with others that for us, Hope is a noun more than a verb. And it can be the same for them, too.
As always, I’d love to hear any thoughts you have about today’s episode.
I hope your thinking was stimulated by today’s show, to both reflect and to act upon the great news of the Gospel that Jesus is our hope. Our only hope. Our relationship with him is the most important one we have It is one we were made for.
That’s it for today. In the meantime, spread a little joy in your relationships this week. Until we meet up again next time, goodbye for now.
Related resources you may want to check out
149: What Do I Say to Them?
148: What Not to Say When Bad Things Happen to Good People
139: Why Should I Listen to This Podcast?
THEM – The Richer Life Found in Caring for Others
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