Complimentary StoryMarch 2023
In the news during the week of February 13, was the story in the midst destruction from the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, of a young girl who, after ten days (248 hours to be exact) in the rubble from the earthquake, was rescued. 17-year-old Aleyna Olmez was termed the “miracle girl.” What a miracle this is. Then we were told a few more people were rescued after her.
How did Aleyna, injured and very cold, survive? What kind of will to live, hope, did she have to keep alive in her flattened apartment?
These are questions that swirl around in my mind. Hope is the understanding that there is something good or positive that is going to happen in a situation, that there will be a better day coming.
How could people in the Bible like Daniel, Esther (going before the king without an invitation knowing that meant death), Old Testament Joseph (slavery and imprisonment), Daniel (lion’s den) and his three friends -Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (fiery furnace), keep the faith as they entered major life defining moments in their faith journey? Their hope in God had to be what was holding them together.
Each one knew eventual death was imminent but they persevered to be obedient to God. Read what Daniel 3:16-18 says, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, your majesty. But even if He doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, your majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.’”
Their hope was completely focused on God. That kind of hope is mind blowing. Everyone of the forementioned Bible characters are introduced to us as young people. As young people they faced faith trials. I’m sure not one of them thought they would come out alive, or in the case of Joseph, to see freedom again. But not one of them bowed down to the pressure of the moment and gave up their hope in God.
John the Baptist was completely being obedient to God’s leading in his life and was thrown into prison because he spoke the truth to King Herod about the king’s immoral relationship with his brother-in-law’s wife (Matthew 14:1-12). He never left prison, eventually being beheaded. His hope focused on the fact that Jesus was the Messiah and there would be a brighter future.
Do you definitely disagree or agree (or somewhere in between) with statements like, “I energetically pursue my goals,” “My past experiences have prepared me well for my future,” “There are lots of ways around my problem.” Or “Even when others get discouraged, I know I can find a way to solve the problem.” How much hope do you have for your future?
Traveling to various locations around the world, young people have asked me to pay $50-$75 for their school fees for just one tri-mester. Why? They were pursuing the hope that an education would get them out of poverty and eventually find a good job to have a good existence here on earth.
Hope keeps us going to get through the next trial in life. Jesus gives us the hope that in all the trials, persecutions and life altering circumstances we step into, He is greater. As young people, you can, by faith in Jesus, KNOW that He is greater than anything we face. Jesus knows what you’re facing today and wants you to put any hope you have in Him. That takes courage.