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NOT WITHOUT HOPE
by Lesa Johnson
Campaign Director | GriefShare Leader

One of my favorite songs is Tommy Walker’s “I Have A Hope”.  As a member of the worship band, we played it often in our church’s early days.  Early on I claimed it as my life’s theme song because my favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11, which is the basis for this song.

I’ve been a believer most of my life, coming to the Lord as a child. I’ve always known He was my Savior.  I was confident in my faith and figured my life would pretty much follow my desired flowchart–college, marriage, career, children, travel, and such.  My husband and I set out with great ambition, working our challenging full-time professional careers and growing a ministry opportunity at a Christian camp in our free time.  My husband grew in his law enforcement career and attained his dream job of SWAT sniper for the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.  I always felt so lucky and so safe with him by my side.   It was a golden season of our lives.

But life doesn’t always go according to plan. The winds of unexpected failure, broken relationships, financial tsunamis and health challenges randomly rock homes on every street in the neighborhood.   In our home we suffered the unthinkable, as one morning in 2012 my sons lost their father and I lost my husband to a massive pulmonary embolism–no warning, no signs, no goodbye.  This loss sucked the air out of our hope and our hearts.

We cried out to Jesus . . . and we came to our church family who stood in the gap.  And in it all, through it all, I was reminded of HOPE–not for things or stuff­–but the hope of redemption . . . the hope of healing . . . the hope of heaven. Heaven became so much more real because someone I had loved on this earth now lived there with God.  Previously I had put my trust and hope mostly in Dean. While he was an amazing husband, he was not God.  My hurt perspective slowly grew to a heavenly perspective.  My broken heart was mended by His grace and the care and keeping of those around me and of the One above.

Faith, Family, and Friends are all part of my hope recipe today.  Living life widowed before age 50 is not what I had planned. Rarely though does life go as planned.  We have to remember that we’ve been told THIS world is imperfect, temporary, and filled with tribulation.  Our HOPE is that this isn’t the main event.

Our HOPE is in Jesus.  He is the God of miracles, the God of healing, and the God of heaven.  Our hope is in the one who came to die and save us all from our hopelessness.  My eyes aren’t fixed on a man any longer, but on the Son of man.  I have hope because God is faithful.  Psalm 31:24 reminds us to “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”  It is my verse today.  In Christ, we have endless hope, but without Him, it is a hopeless end.

I thank God for my hope and my future that is in His hands today.

Questions:

  1. How have you experienced life not going according to your plans?
  2. In what ways did that time challenge your hope and trust in God?
  3. What are some promises you can cling to today to build your hope in Him?