Living with Hope

"You lived in this world without God and without hope." Ephesians 2:12 NLT

The Evans family lived with hope despite living in what appeared to be hopeless circumstances.

"Good Times" was a 1970's sitcom about a dad, mom, and three children who lived on the wrong side of Chicago. Every trip outside their home carried the risk of being mugged or raped. They lived in a rickety apartment building owned by a man who cared little for his tenants. Mom stayed home, cared for the children, cleaned the house, and cooked while Dad worked-at least, most of the time. Job layoffs came regularly. Somehow, they always managed to scrape by-and with a smile on their faces. Their secret for happiness-in spite of their unwelcome circumstances, came through something the mom instilled in the family: hope. Hope built on a deep trust in God.

Paul reminded his readers that they once lived without hope. They had it now only because they had accepted the Jesus he preached.

Hopelessness is a terrible state of existence. To believe nothing will ever get better. To believe the future will never be any better than the present. To look at the past and see it wasn't any better than the present. But anyone can choose to live with hope instead of hopelessness.

As Florida Evans discovered, hope is not built on circumstances. If it was, millions of people on any given day would have none. Regardless of one's financial state, living consistently without anything going wrong isn't the norm. Hope built on circumstances quickly materializes into hopelessness.

I have hope because I trust the One who controls the circumstances and believe He can take what appears-or is, bad and form good from it. Believing He is the creator and controller of all things erects confidence.

Living with hope is an inner attitude that results in an outward change. Florida Evans was able to transfer her hope to her family-even her unbelieving husband. Hope is transferable. If I live with hope, I can give it to those God puts in my path. My attitude will influence their attitude.

Florida Evans' hope was built on her belief in God. Mine must be too. Nothing else will give me true, consistent hope. All other foundations will flounder.

Are you living with hope or merely surviving with hopelessness?

Martin Wiles Hodges, South Carolina, USA

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