Life At Its Best: Hope keeps us going in spite of the odds
Hope is a powerful force. It's what keeps armies fighting, sports teams playing and couples working together.
When present, it causes people to believe there's still a chance to have all that their heart desires. But if it's absent, people quickly stop pursuing what's best.
John 5 tells about a lame man whose situation looked pretty hopeless. He lived near the pool of Bethesda. This wasn't just any ordinary pool. It was one frequently visited by an angel. When the angel came, it would stir the waters, and the first person in would be healed.
As you can imagine, it wasn't easy to be first. The lame man had been trying for 38 years and still hadn't made it. His hope was waning. One day, Jesus walked by and asked, "Do you want to get well?"
The man replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool." Jesus commanded him, "Get up. Pick up your mat and walk." The man did what Jesus said, and he was instantly healed.
Jesus changed that man's life forever. But the purpose of this miracle wasn't just to heal him. If it was, He simply could've taken him to the pool when it was stirred. Jesus healed him the way He did to challenge his source of hope.
You see, the man believed the only way he could get well was to get in the water. He looked to the pool of Bethesda for hope when he had the true hope of the world- Jesus - right in front of Him. He needed to realize that Jesus was the only way he could walk into better life.
The same is true for us. We all have areas in which we feel there's no hope. We have marriages, families, finances, emotions and pasts that need to be restored. However, Jesus is challenging us, like He did that man, to re-evaluate our source.
We must ask ourselves to what or who we're looking to solve our problem. If we look to people or opportunities, we'll eventually be disappointed because both fail and fade. However, Isaiah 49:23 promises that those who hope in Jesus will "never be disappointed."
Today, I encourage you to daily place your situation in God's hands. Believe that He has all the power you need to overcome. Let Him be your source of hope for healing. Then, choose to obey. The lame man was healed not just because He hoped in Jesus but also because he obeyed Him. To walk into better life, he had to "get up and walk."
The same is true for us. Our pain won't be healed simply because we hope. We have to study God's Word and discover what actions He's asking us to take. Many times, it means sacrificing old habits and perspectives. It may require stepping out of our comfort zone.
I don't know what act of obedience your healing will require. But whatever it is, I encourage you to take it. Put your hope in Jesus, and you won't be disappointed.
Jim Graff is the senior pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria. Visit faithfamilyvictoria.com.