Yesterday was the beginning of Advent and as a symbol of that we lit the candle of hope on our Advent wreath. Hope, along with salvation and eternal life, is the greatest gift given to me by God. Before Jesus came into my life and heart, I lived decades in utter hopelessness. Not just the kind of hopelessness we talk about when we talk about a heart separated from God (which is not to be thought of lightly). I’m talking of a hopelessness that exists when all the hope is squeezed out of an innocent child’s heart from years of verbal abuse and molestation. That heart is then made infertile beyond the ability to nurture even a bud of hope in the years of mental, physical and sexual abuse that follows. Lastly the heart itself dries up when the last good thing—the love for my child—is violently ripped away from me in a single moment. That is my picture of utter hopelessness.
But now with God’s grace I am a lighthouse of hope shining into the darkness. Hope emanates from me like the rays of light from the lighthouse. God took the dead heart inside of me and made it come alive again like he did with the dry bones in Ezekiel 37. He has healed my life and restored in abundance all that was taken, beaten out of, and stolen from me. I am strong in his power and have been placed in my community to shine my light of a life miraculously renewed.
I stand as God’s symbol of hope to anyone who has been hurt, abused, or afflicted with depression or grief. The hope that God pours out of me has it foundation in my own experience and the glory of God’s grace and blessing. Hope is the energy that keeps me going in the tough times and fuels my celebration in the good. Hope is the legs I stand on—the certain hope of God’s promise and his presence in my life.