About a week and half ago, our family faced a terrible tragedy. My cousin’s 23 year old son was shot and killed in Detroit. I was asked to speak at the funeral.
I didn’t know Dimitri, but I saw pictures of a young happy boy filled with promise for the future. His mom, Julie, told me that he was smart, talented, and had a huge heart.
Several family members and friends talked about their love and admiration for him. Lots of tears shed. Tons of hugs given. And many memories spoken.
As I stood before a room packed with Dimitri’s loved ones, I saw sadness, confusion, bewilderment, and love on the faces of those gathered. I knew instantly what they needed…
They needed HOPE!
So, I designed my message around that word.
In fact, we all need HOPE!
Because HOPE can change everything!
- Bring light into the midst of darkness
- Strengthen us in our weakness
- Help us to face tomorrow
- Restore our purpose
- Turn our sorrow into joy
- Keep us focused on our future home
Several Christian artists sing about it in their song, Hope Can Change Everything…
A spark can start a fire
A shot can start a war
A breeze can start a wave
That crashes on the shore
Hope…hope can change everything
A breath can give you life
A hand can turn the page
A word can give you strength
To face another day
Reaches in the heart
Of your darkest night
Lifts you off the ground
When you’ve lost the fight
Keeps you hanging on
Through the disbelief
Every day, every step, every dream
Hope can change everything
Hope can change everything
Now that we know why we need hope, we need to know how to get it and how to keep it alive.
Where does hope from?
The answer is found in one word, one name…
The Apostle Paul says that it’s “Christ in [us], the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). Hope is given to us when we invite Jesus Christ into our lives as our Savior.
Jesus said, “I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE” (John 14:6). There is no other way to find hope. ONLY JESUS!
We need to believe that Jesus died, was buried, and that He rose again the third day as the Scriptures say (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). And then we need to ask Him to forgive us of our sins and invite Him to be our Savior.
Receiving Jesus is the first step to finding hope.
Now, how do we keep hope alive? Here are 5 ways…
1. Let truth pour over you!
No matter how deep the pain, how severe the sorrow, or how broad the doubt, ALWAYS keep God’s Word before you.
Read it! Ponder it!
And meditate on it daily!
2. Stay in communion with God!
Our horrible circumstances can make us feel distant from God. And sometimes all we want to do is run away. But we need to do just the opposite.
We need to run toward God.
He wants to hear our voice. He wants us to pour out our grief to Him. He is the ONLY One who truly understands.
He whispers into our ears. He holds us close to His heart. And He will be there when it seems no else is.
3. Cling to His promises!
Hold on tight! Don’t let go!
Remember that what He says, HE will do!
4. Let people in!
The most common thing we do when tragedy strikes or hardships come is to push people away. But, we need our loved ones.
We need friends. We need family. We need others by our side.
5. Seek Christ above all things!
Know that Christ is the answer!
We often try to fill our emptiness or hurt with other things – temporary fills.
Know this… Everything else will fail us. But Jesus will NEVER fail. He is the TRUE Vine and the only source of true sustenance.
So, if you are searching for identity, purpose, contentment, or for a way out of your struggle…
You can find it in CHRIST alone!
If you look, you will find HIM.
If you do not go to a church, then look for one today. Find a place to worship God and connect with other believers. But make sure that this church preaches the Word of God and is warm and inviting.
We need to be connected to the family of God.
Please pass this along. This message can be the hope someone needs today and you can be the messenger.
Remember, HOPE CAN CHANGE EVERYTHING!