Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 06/08/16

The Tomorrow of Hope Today


STORY: The Spring of Hope

When I think about hope, I think of my mother-in-love’s faith. Lula Mae Willis was one of my role models, even before I married her son. I’ll never attain to her skills as a homemaker and penny pincher. But she gave me her heart for helping tween and teen girls. She attentively listened to them—not merely hearing them, but enjoying their company, and always had two or three “adopted” well after her own girls left home. She sang hymns with gusto and listened intently to sermons. She was uncomfortable in the water, especially before moving to a home that had its own pool, and it was a real act of faith when she was baptized by immersion. She always said as long as her feet could touch the bottom and her hair didn't get wet, she could deal with being in the water—obviously baptism broke one of those rules! She had a giving heart and loved seeing and meeting needs, often sensing someone was hurting when no one else noticed.

In 1994, Mom Willis discovered she had breast cancer. Three years later the cancer had spread and she knew deep down it was her last year to live. Eventually there was nothing more medical science could provide her in the way of hope, yet she was not without hope. Her hope remained in Jesus Christ until her last breath.

My mother-in-love had a tremendous faith. Her relationship with God was evident as she endured the effects of the cancer, the chemo, and the radiation. She knew she wasn't suffering alone—God was with her every step of the way. Even on days when she couldn't read her Bible, she had someone else read it to her.

I learned a lot from Mom Willis about trusting God no matter what. When she whispered goodbye to this life it wasn’t because she lost her fight with cancer, but because God called her to her real home—with Him. There is no defeat in death—merely graduation!

Lu was born on Groundhog’s Day. Just as the groundhog tradition determines the start of spring, Mom Willis determined to bring the Spring of Hope to all she knew so they could know the Source of her hope in a personal way.

PRAYER: Father of Hope, when the trials of life knock me off my feet and I’m baptized with the deluge of peace, help me trust in You. And when I’m heartsick with the sorrows of this life, I determine to praise You anyway. Then, Oh Lord, I know You’ll bring a new spring of hope.

STUDY: The Strength of Hope

The Chin-Lifter of Hope

There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God! Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God! (Psalm 43:4-5 NLT)

  • What happens when you are discouraged or sad and you go to God’s altar in prayer?
  • Where do you get your joy?
  • When you place your hope in God, what will you feel like doing again?

Shadow of Doubt

When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. (Psalm 94:19 NLT)

  • It’s easy to lose hope and cheer when entertaining doubts in your thought-life. How might you halt the replay of doubt-filled thoughts?
  • When you reach out to God and admit your struggle with doubt, how will He comfort you?
  • Did you know hope could be renewed? Doubt causes our hope to have an expiration date, but trust renews that hope again.

The Fatigue of Waiting

I am worn out waiting for your rescue, but I have put my hope in your word. (Psalm 119:81 NLT)

  • Have you experienced “worn-out-waiting” like this psalmist? Maybe you’re there right now. How can you refuel for the duration of the wait?
  • The word “but” implies whatever was said before it isn’t going to have the final word. Whatever is said after it will be victorious. What comes after “but” in this verse?
  • How will placing your hope in God’s Word help you wait out the delay of rescue?

Uncrushable Hope

Lord, sustain me as you promised, that I may live! Do not let my hope be crushed. Psalm (119:116 NLT)

  • What does it mean to be sustained? How does God sustain you? Why does His sustenance seem to give us life? (Not merely alive, but making life worth living.)
  • As we wait for God to help us out of a tough spot, it’s easy for our hope to be crushed. But we can cry out to the Lord and reinforce our hope in Him.

Passing Through the Veil

This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. (Hebrews 6:19 NLT)

  • Just as Mom Willis had enough hope to deliver her safely through the veil of death to her destination of hope with Jesus in God’s inner sanctuary, you can have enough hope to get you through to your destination as well.
  • How is this hope described in Hebrews 6:19?

STEPS: A Hope-Filled Trust

  1. Reliable Trust. Count on the Lord by hoping in His Word. What word of hope can you meditate on today? (Psalm 130:5 NLT)
  2. Glad Praises. Make your heart glad by praising God even before He rescues you. (Acts 2:26a NLT)
  3. Rest in Hope. Put your doubts and fears to sleep so you can rest as well. (Acts 2:26 NLT)
  4. Anchor your Hope. Determine to make hope a fixture of trust as you wait for Him. When in doubt, imagine an anchor in your mind’s eye to help you swap doubt for trust.

Copyright 2016 Kathy Carlton Willis. Used by permission.

Give Now