My Only Hope

Give me Three Days and I’ll Give you the Secret to An Abundant Life – Day 1

I lived in Hawaii for six glorious years. There, at a little place called the Polynesian Cultural Center, you couldn’t drink Coca-Cola products, but you could watch grown men scale palm trees to harvest coconut milk.  Dressed in nothing more than naked feet and a machete, native Hawaiians shimmied the skinny, stooped, “Prince of the Vegetable Kingdom” to claim their prize – a bountiful clump of palm flowers and coconuts.

This feat, this ascent up the coconut tree astounds me.  What empowers them?  What drives them to risk their life for small taste of bitter milk? Mushy pulp?  And stringy husk?

To be honest, in this self-proclaimed year of Hope, I often feel like an amateur coconut harvester. Hope beckons like the heavy coconuts from high atop the stalk, only the thrill of the hunt does NOT empower me.  The crop dangles just out of reach, but I am NOT hungry for the harvest. I stand there, instead, staring up, confounded, and believing I’m doomed to go hungry.

Hope2

But God promised Hope to a hopeless world.  A hope even more refreshing than a coconut:

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13

I think herein lies {at least part of} my answer. Will you stick with me as I let my inner engineer loose on this verse? Today we’ll tackle equation #1:

{WARNING – Apparently my inner engineer is a bit chatty.  No matter how many times I edited her work, she kept blowing the 500 word count ceiling.}

1. Belief → Hope

Yes, friends, those are arrows. In chemistry they’re yield signs.  As in: belief yields Hope.  {I couldn’t let an equal sign slide here.  It’s no equivalency.  It’s a process.}  Hope is a result of belief.  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing.

“But belief in what?” you ask? The answer is simple and yet altogether complex.

Paul {who authored the book of Romans}, continues:

For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. {Romans 15:4}

And quoting Isaiah, Paul writes:

There shall be a root of Jesse. And he who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; In him the Gentiles have Hope. {Romans 15:12}

Hope, my friend, begins in Scripture.  For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we…might have hope {Romans 15:4}. God’s Word gives way to Hope, produces Hope, yields a harvest of Hope. If you and I ignore the Word and avoid the ocean depths of his Truth, then Hope dries up like an arid lake bed, floats away like an errant helium balloon, rots like an un-harvested coconut. And yet, Hope doesn’t end there.

In [Jesus – the root of Jesse] the Gentiles have Hope. {Romans 15:12}

As Edward Mote’s famous Baptist hymn preaches – our hope is build on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. Even if we’re in the Word, friends, without Jesus we have no lasting Hope. We only have Truth.

For some, following Jesus looks unappealing. Too problematic, perhaps?  To uncertain? Too demanding?

What if, friend. What if that’s the whole point? What if His appearance: His problems, His uncertainty, His demands are all designed to demand a verdict? All bent to beg your position.  All constructed to anticipate your answer to the question, “Who is this man, Jesus?”

I believe.  For years I willed myself to believe. {And there’s merit in standing upon principle – just ask the author of the Valley of Vision who said THIS on p9.} But it wasn’t until a recent early morning drive through the sunrise that my stalwart principle turned to unwavering conviction. My willful decision turned to heartfelt faith.

My faith grew as I obeyed His problematic, uncertain, and demanding decree to forgive others as He forgave me {boy, that alone took faith – years and years of working out my faith}.  It swelled as His promises applied to me – {He set me, the prisoner of bitter blame, free. Just like He said He would.} And my faith yielded hope – a hope that His Truth actually applies to my future.

For His Words  were written for me, that I through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

Now to shimmy up that palm tree again – that’s a task I’ll tackle in Days 2 & 3.  Maybe this time He’ll send a friendly native Hawaiian to my rescue. 🙂

Need even more inspiration?  Check out these scripture art pieces {and more!} at my Pinterest Site:

 Hope  hope4  Hope5

Photo Credits and More Free Printables! {HERE}

Next Week?  The God of Hope → Joy + Peace

Might I Pray for Us?

Dear Jesus,

The One in whom the Gentiles {we!} have hope. Give us faith to be certain of who You are and who we are in You. Faith to obey Your problematic, uncertain, and demanding laws. Faith to climb the coconut tree in search of Hope. Amen.

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