David wrote, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil (Psalm 23:4a)”
David was in a place where evil was an ever-present reality. He knew the dangers surrounding him. Yet he refused to give in to fear. He was saying the presence of the Lord gave him confidence to pass through difficult places without fear of being deserted by Him. The Lord was his HOPE!
There are many that claim to have hope, but only those whose hope is in Christ can claim it with certainty. Understand, community, that “hope” comes not from intelligence or favorable circumstances, but real hope comes from the Lord.
Webster says the word “hope” means “a feeling of what is wanted will happen.” Community, as long as a person has hope in anything they will make it. They have a reason to keep on keeping on; as long as they have “a feeling that what is wanted will happen” it keeps them pressing forward; take away hope and you take away a person’s desire to carry on; do we not know that many people are dead and in their graves because they felt that they did not have any hope; many people have committed suicide because they felt that they didn’t have any hope that things would change for the better.
Young folk have given up on parents and are now in the streets; some are in a hurry and going nowhere; homeless people are walking around not caring whether they live or die because they gave up! I repeat that as long as a person believes that things will get better they can make it! I say this morning, that wherever you are, it is not so bad that there is no hope; take hope away from the people in Africa and other places where there is famine and they lose the will to live.
Take away hope from those who lost their homes to floods, fires, tornadoes and hurricanes and they will wither up; take away hope from people living in nursing facilities especially those who seldom have any family to visit them and they don’t live very long; We all hear of how things are going in the school system — our teachers have a full-time job trying to teach our children, and with not enough help from the parents they have their hands full. Having tutored in the school system some third-graders in reading and trying to be a positive male role model to them, I got just a taste of what teachers have to deal with every day of the year. They have my deepest respect!
Plus, I saw firsthand what some children have to deal with at home. I tried to offer them some hope. People in the hospital waiting rooms have hope that their loved ones there will get better. I’ve prayed with and for people there who asked for prayer because they believe that prayer changes things. And then the people in the hospital have hope, because if they didn’t they would roll over and die — and many have because they gave up.
But Christians, have hope this morning; in fact we all do; one look at the cross is a reminder that there is a reason to live; for “because he live we can face tomorrow; because he live all fear is gone; because we know who hold our future; and life is worth the living because he live!” now my word to the believer this morning is whatever lot you find yourself, as disturbing and hopeless as it may seem, things won’t be this way always!
We have a glorious future (1st Thessalonians 4:16-18); community, we have every reason to be HOPEFUL; there is a better day a coming; not a possibility but a certainty! There is no such thing as a “no hope” situation for a Christian believer; for we are saved by hope (Rom 8:24a); but being in the world and seeing the way things are here we lose sight of some things; we get caught up in the affairs of the world, our struggles, our trials and those things that comes before our eyes every day and we lose sight of the bigger picture.
But this morning I speak hope to all of us reading. Hope is your middle name; always remember that after the darkest night morning always come! The psalmist said of our Lord “You are my HOPE”, O LORD God; you are my trust from my youth (Psalm 71:5).” The psalmist prayed in his old age for continued care because his enemies sought to harm him. But his HOPE was in God! What David was saying was “I trusted you, O Lord, from my childhood”….Now in my old age, don’t set me aside.” And then community, let’s not take away anybody’s hope; because that’s all a person has; let’s don’t tell our children “there is no hope for you!” and let’s not say to anybody “You are a HOPELESS case!” as long as there is breath in the body there is hope; and even if you are not saved by grace, there is still hope for you; Jesus died just for you; he was hung up for your hang ups!
Don’t give up! Acknowledge that you are a sinner and ask him into your heart and he will save you today (Rom. 10:9). In the deepest valley or climbing the highest mountain we will make it because our HOPE is in God.
The Rev. George Ellis is pastor at Union Grove Missionary Baptist Church.