M-Note 12.1.2021

3 Ways to Choose HOPE in Your Life

by Matt Miofsky
It has been said that Christians are not allowed to stop hoping. In a chaotic, uncertain, and sometimes hopeless world, we are called to be confident that God is at work. Hope doesn’t ignore what is hard or gloss over the challenges of life. Rather, hope faces those challenges with the confident expectation that God is working all things together for our good. Hope allows us to face the realities of life with a spirit of trust, resilience, and perseverance. Most importantly, hope is not a feeling that comes and goes. Hope is work. Hope is a choice that we wake up and must decide to hold onto every day. Hope is a way of living in the world, during times of joy and especially during times of suffering. And hope is a key part of Christmas.
 
So here are three ways you can choose hope in your life this week:
 
1. Remember
 Sometimes in our current struggles, we forget the incredible things God has gotten us through in the past. Yes, you have been through hardship before. Yes, you have experienced setbacks, loss, and disappointment. But, you are here! God has brought you this far. And I bet that God has taught you, shaped you, and strengthened you along the way. Remembering the hard things we have made it through in the past gives us greater hope that we can navigate our current situation. Spend some time this week remembering difficult seasons in your past and the way God has gotten you through those times. Remembering how God has been faithful to us in the past gives us greater confidence that God will get us through our current situation, as well.
 
2. Act as if
That is a funny phrase. Act as if…what? Act as if you know God is real. Act as if you know God is present in your life. Act as if you trust that God will come through for you. Often, we say that we believe in God, but we don’t act as if God is active and at work in our life. Without God, we are scared, timid, and often do not take risks that push us beyond our comfort zone. But, if God is with us, that changes everything. We might take risks, try hard things, and step out with the firm belief that where our strength fails, God’s strength will carry us. In the decisions, you might be facing right now in your life, act as if God is with you because God is!
 
3. Sow seeds
Pope Francis recently said, “the Holy Spirit has the power to fill us with the hope of Christ, in turn making us Christians vessels that bring hope to others, rather than bitterness or desperation.” As people of hope, we are called to bring that hope into the lives of others. When people look at you, do they see hope? Do you inspire hope in others? Answering honestly, we often fall short. If you are like me, too often I fear that I join in the chorus of bitterness, cynicism, or desperation of the world. This week, focus on how you are showing up with and for others. Look for opportunities to sow seeds of hope for others instead of adding to the frustration or negativity that is so pervasive in our world.

Remember, as followers of Christ we are not promised an easy life. But, we are promised that God walks with us through life’s hardships and brings us through to the other side. God promises us that no force of this world or the next has the power to ultimately conquer us, but that our future is life, and life abundant. Jesus comes to bring us that life, and because of that, we have reason to face the future with firm confidence. We have a reason to hope.

Peace,

P.S.  Don’t forget that this weekend is the first offering for our new OPEN commitments. Thank you to everyone that made a commitment through OPEN to give financially to the mission of The Gathering over the next two years. If you haven’t yet done it, please make your commitment by this weekend. You can fill out an OPEN commitment card on the Gathering app or at the link below.
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