Several weekly letters shared by the MCF have encouraged us to pray daily asking God to strengthen us and give us wisdom so that we may share His gospel message of hope to our family and friends. We have been coached to ask the Holy Spirit to prepare people for divine appointments during which time we can point them to the hope Jesus offers. Unfortunately, no matter how often we hear God can prepare and motivate us to be disciples making disciples, many actually fear the possibility that God will arrange a meeting. Although we believe in the great commission to share the Gospel many are hesitant for various reasons, including the fear that we will mess it up because we do not know what to say. We trust God but many would rather have those encounters later when they think they will be more prepared. Regrettably, many around us are asking “where then is my hope” as they face their world and so we must step up and trust God not to arrange encounters, but to be present with us overseeing our interaction.
What happens if you pray for an engagement and you get a phone call out of the blue from a sibling who tells you that their spouse has some dreadful disease? This individual has known you all your life, knows about your secrets, your shortfalls, and knows how you had previously reacted poorly to life around you? How do you respond if they ask “where then is my hope” and ask you to pray for them? Do you remind yourself of your fear and tip-toe around the conversation and try to end the call quickly or do you offer an unscripted prayer of hope that stems from our own hope in Christ?
Christ followers are people of hope in a world filled with hopelessness. Their hope rests on future salvation, the resurrection of Jesus, and eternal life with God. They help others discover hope in their lives. Christ’s disciples (us) offer hope that Jesus can be present in daily bringing comfort, strength and wisdom even when life seems to take a turn for a worse. We can offer counsel not to ignore life’s problem and can share how our Lord will shoulder them with us. Without explaining or quoting all we know in scripture, we can share what we know about hope in our own lives and we can do this with confidence that God will use our words and His grace to affect those we talk with.
During Easter people will speak about the crucifixion that was meant to kill the hope of Christ’s first disciples. There will be focus on the pain, suffering and sacrifice as well as the joy associated with the miracle of the resurrection. The ascension of Christ to heaven will be recalled and there will be emphasis on the promise of a returning Christ. However we must not forget that from the empty tomb came the hope of an everlasting interactive loving God who wants to be with us daily. It is that hope that needs to be shared with those we have prayed about meeting. It is that hope we see for them and so we must gather up the courage to share it with them this Easter season. It is a hope worth talking about.