"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." (NIV)
1 Peter 1:3
The winter in New England seems to have come to a close. Of course, I probably shouldn't speak too soon, but there are signs that spring will soon arrive. Yes, the temperature has been a bit warmer (it actually hit 70 degrees last week). That is certainly a sign. Of course, there is daylight savings time - yielding more light at the end of our day. Yet, there are other signs that tell me spring is coming!! As I walked around the house today, I saw the top of the tulips starting to push through the earth. That made me smile. Then as I turned the corner, pretty purple crocuses were in bloom. Wow - that is a sign. I checked out the trees and the early ornamental pear has buds on it!! The greatest sign for me, though, has always been the return of the red-winged black bird. I find this bird to be so beautiful, whether perched on a small branch in a mossy area or flying through the sky. Truly one of God's creatures. All of these signs tell me that spring is soon to be here, and that makes me have some hope that winter is over.
It made me think of other signs of hope I have had in my life. There have been circumstances, good and not so good, where signs of hope were delivered to me to continue to another day.
Holding my breath that the mammogram wouldn't show any more cancer - to have the radiologist say, "You are good to go for another year!". Hope for another year of being cancer free.
Gingerly stepping onto that scale wishing for success - to see that I was down a couple of pounds. Hope for a continued healthy lifestyle.
Sitting with a friend going through the challenges of chemo - to see a smile on her face and a spring in her step. Hope for healing.
Praying that health would be restored to a sick family member - to see that smile of relief that they truly feel better. Hope for continued recovery.
Sharing a life long secret of shame with a special someone - to see a non-judgmental face that is full of love. Hope for continued forgiveness.
So many times, I have been blessed with signs of continued hope in my life. I'm sure if we all thought about it, we have seen signs of hope when things were tough, when struggles overcame us. Let me share some very good news with you. Our hope isn't just in tough or good times; our hope is constant for us in our risen Lord.
Our good news comes for our Lord Jesus, who by taking on our sin and dying a horrific death on the cross, gives us the hope to wake up each morning with our sin taken away. He provides us the hope of a new day, a new dawn, in Him. As hope was restored to all believers that Easter morn, so it is restored to us each and every day. Hope in what? Hope that we can live in God's world. By believing in the resurrected Jesus, our sins are forgiven. We have the hope that many don't. Hope to live with Jesus in paradise. That's a hope that makes me smile (even more than seeing a crocus in spring)!
During this Lenten season, it's important for us to remember the one who brought us this hope and all He endured so we could have the greatest hope - eternal salvation. Please, as the week ahead progresses, reach out to Jesus in prayer. Have the simple faith that He will bring you all the hope you need, regardless of your situation. Have the hope for a wonderful and bright future in Jesus.
"Dearest Jesus, we thank you for the wonderful signs of hope you have given us. May we always keep our eyes and hearts open to these signs - as they keep us moving closer to you. Help us to reflect on all that you have given to us, and may we thank you for the eternal hope you died for. In your gracious name we pray. Amen."