1 Corinthians 13 — Love Is Hopeful — Without Hope, There Is No Life and There Is Life in Jesus Christ

Posted: July 28, 2015 in 46-1 Corinthians

1 Corinthians 13 — Love is always hopeful. Hope springs eternal. Hope is the thing that keeps us alive. Hope is that one thing that you cling to when you are down and out. It is hope that gives the strength to carry on. In my life I have seen this concept played out in my life and in the lives of people that I have known and/or loved.

In my life, hope has carried me through tough times. There have been times in my life where it was simply a struggle to get out of bed. When I was going through my first divorce, it was hope that carried me. It was a tough time. There were times when I stopped at the local hot dog joint to by four hot dogs so that I would have dinner for two nights. There were times when I was unable to see my kids for long stretches. The divorce separated me not only from my wife, my kids, my home, it also separated me from people I had known for 20 years. But the relationship was such that I feared for my life and the collateral damage that it was causing my children. I had to make a bold move and it resulted in me being completely alone. I was starting over from scratch. It was a tough, tough time emotionally. But there was something in me that kept me going. Kept me getting up each day. There was the hope that things would get better. It kept me alive. Hope kept me alive. Things were similar in my second marriage, I ultimately had to make choices between my children and my second wife. There was this jealousy of anything to do with my past life before our marriage and that included my children. So many mistakes made during this time. Eventually, I had to choose between my new life and my children. Our responsibilities to our children should always win. It may cost you the life that you know, but we know it to be right. Alone again. Starting over again. My second ex seemed to be living it up while I sulked away and was crushed by the emotional weight of the separation and divorce. Early on, literally, there were days that I could not get out of bed. Sleeping was my solace. It was the escape from the loneliness of my life. But there was hope. Hope was all I had. There was hope that things would get better. Starting all over again from scratch again, but there was hope.

This time there was hope through Jesus Christ. This was 2004 but in 2001 I had accepted Christ as my Savior. There was hope. There was a purpose seen in the suffering. There was hope that no matter how blue I got, there was simply the foundation of hope that eventually things would get better. Through Jesus Christ, our suffering is not welcomed but it can be endured. Our suffering is seen in the light that there things to be taught to us. All the mistakes in my life were enlightened to me one by one during this time in my life. It was painful but yet hopeful. Relationships with my children repaired and deepened. Understanding that the world will not explode if I am not in a relationship. Knowing when to say when, when it comes to relationships that are bad for me. Learning finally that your spouse should be your best friend in addition to your lover. These are all the things that led me to the wife God had intended me to find but only when my eyes were open enough to see her. Elena and I claim “God Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts as our theme song. We would not appreciate this marriage had it not been for the broken road of our respective pasts. To get to her, if it were not for hope, the belief that things would get better, the belief that God was actually guiding my steps even when it was darkest, we would not be together. If there was not hope, I would have given up. If there was not hope in my heart that a better day was around the corner, I would not being experiencing the blessings that I am experiencing now. God has me in a season of blessing at the moment. When I look back on the hard, rocky trail with all of the ups and downs, it is not lost on me that it was hope that brought me here. I thank God for the broken road because of hope. Because of hope, when the smooth stretch of road comes, it is oh so much sweeter. God gives us hope. His Son gives us hope. There will be a brighter, shinier day ahead. Whether it is in this lifetime or in heaven, brighter days are ahead. Hope springs eternal through Jesus Christ. Cling to hope even when hope is all you have. Your hope is found in Jesus. When you have Jesus, you have hope. When you have hope, we can make the best of the worst of times because better days are coming. Better days are coming.

I have seen also in others in life where hope has disappeared. Life disappears soon after. I think of my mother. A fine Christian woman with a drive and a spirit that kept her a vivacious and involved woman the majority of her life. In her latter years though, back problems, back surgeries (notice that is plural not singular), arthritis, and sheer old age ravaged my mom. Next came dimentia. She had become a shell of the vivacious woman I once knew. Her pain and the dimentia eventually led my mother to give up on life. She gave up hope. When we lose hope, death follows. My mother passed away soon after we saw her give up hope on life. This was not a morbid giving up on life. It was simply a woman tired of living in a body that was no longer working. It was a woman who was tired of being in pain. It was a woman who was just tired. She was ready to go home to the Father in heaven. She gave up hope. She gave up the fight and death mercifully soon followed. It made me realize what a role hope plays in our life. It is that inner fire that drives us to stay alive. It is that which drives us on forward when the world is falling apart around us. I saw this point clearly again with the passing of my first ex-wife here within the last week. She was 54 when she died 9 days ago. She too had given up hope on life. When she was 3, her father died in a car accident which also left her mother in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. When she was 19, her 22 year old brother was taken in a car accident. Finally, the thing that took away what hope she did have in life was when her mother passed away 11 years ago. When that happened, you could see my ex-wife exhale what hope she had left. When hope goes, health fails. When hope goes, you withdraw from life. When hope goes, we begin to die. Mercifully, my ex-wife is now reunited with her mom, dad and brother. When hope goes, we wait and wish for death to come to us. We live but we are dying when we have no hope.

Thus, hope is that drive that things will get better. Hope is the belief that things will actually get better when all evidence is to the contrary. That’s why Paul says love is hopeful. When we love others, we believe that they will become what they have the potential to be. When we love, we believe in a person even when all evidence makes others think you should write that person off. Love is hopeful means that we go through hard times with a person. Love is hopeful means that we cling to the belief that there is an awesome person inside that rough exterior. Love is hopeful means that we cling that small light in the darkness. Love is hopeful means that we never give up. We keep pushing through. We keep prodding. We keep on keeping on with those we love. Love is hopeful means that we see through the arguments and hateful words as just words and arguments and see the hope that love brings.

Our Father in heaven is hopeful for us. He believes in us even when we spew hate on Him. He believes in the best in us even when we shake our fist at Him. He sees what we can be in Him even when we walk away from Him. He is forever hopeful that you and I will accept His ultimate act of love in sacrificing His own Son on the cross for our sins. He waits with hope. He believes in us. He believes that we will come to our senses. Hope keeps God pursuing us relentlessly. Hope is the nature of God. Love is the nature of God. He loves you. He wants you to come to Him. He has plans for you. To give you a hope and a future. The broken road that you are on now is leading you to Him. He will give you hope where there is none. He will help you see that there is sunshine around the corner. He will help you see that your broken road is for a purpose. He wants you to stand in the field of daffodils with the warm sunlight on your face. Have hope. Have Jesus. Even in the dark days in the valleys are filled with evidence of God’s guiding hand. That gives us hope. That gives us a string to cling to that pulls us through to the mountaintop. Call on Jesus’ name. He’s hoping. He’s waiting. There is life in hope!

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