"To trust in, wait for, look for, or desire something or someone; or to expect something beneficial in the future."
Can you imagine what it looks like to lose this? To lose the desire to move? I heard a great quote from a man who grew up as a compassion child in Africa, he said, "As darkness engulfs a place, the Devil tries to take over." To lose hope in your life is to face the darkness of depression. I'm not talking about clinical depression. Clinical depression is a chemical imbalance that can only be treated through intercessory prayer and God's gift to us, medicine.
The depression of lost hope is like a dark pit where the light of hope doesn't seem to shine. I have struggled with depression for most of my life. Almost to the point of becoming a manic depressive; Ready to take on the world this week, full of God's authority and strength and then not even able to leave the house for days the next. It is a dark pit that fills you with all of the anxiety of a panic attack then wraps you in a straight jacket of despair so you cannot even bring yourself to move. Satan sees the darkness when you start to lose hope and he wants grind you into the mire of your circumstances. The fear and stress of your life becomes a pit sucking you down. But then there is this:
I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD. (Psalm 40:1-3)
When we wait on the Lord, when we trust in God, God lifts us up from dark places of hopelessness and places us on the rock of His promises. It is a lie if you’re clinically depressed and Satan tells you will never feel happy again. It is a lie if you are like me and get overwhelmed with your circumstances and Satan beats you down with doubts. And it is a dirty lie if he tells you that you will die just another nobody; unloved by God and unremembered by those you leave behind.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
But the world does not believe this, heck even some Christians have a hard time with this when live throws them a curve ball. Hopelessness has become a global epidemic, a pandemic that makes the Ebola or HIV look like a party favors. From England to Ecuador, from Alabama to Afghanistan. The enemy tries to strip us of hope because if he can strip us of hope then he can gradually remove from us the desire for a life with God. We lose sight of Christ.
So my wife Connie and I went to Calgary for a week. While we were there we didn't want to miss church so we went to the church where Connie's grandparents attended. It happened that this weekend we attended happened to be their Compassion Sunday. Connie had had 2 Compassion children before and I had read a lot about them but we never felt we could really commit to taking on a Compassion child it is a serious responsibility.
Is there anyone here who has heard of Compassion Canada?
I'll describe them briefly here. Compassion Canada is an amazing, it is one of the world’s leading child development organizations, they were established in 1963, inspired by Matthew 15:32:
"I have compassion on the multitude. I will not send them away hungry," (Matthew 15:32)
Today Compassion partners in 26 countries to end poverty in the lives of children and their families, and because of their work, more than 1.4 million children are discovering lives full of promise, purpose, and most importantly Christ.
I thought I was healed from the pain of having lost our daughter Lydia in June. I know it was an adoption that fell through and that she is still alive out there somewhere, but to my heart it felt the same as though she had died in my arms. I had lost any hope of ever being a father. I'm really not sure I could bring myself to fight through the adoption process again. Connie and I have had no success at having a child of our own. I had come to the point of losing hope, I even started thinking that maybe it is because I am not meant to be a father. And I saw acceptance of this as a sign I had healed.
Does that sound healed to you? But here I was in this church and I saw this need. I saw the need for love, and mercy, and hope. I realized I could be that hope for a child. Afterwards Connie and I went out into the hall and found a little girl. Her name is Valeria Jackline Amador Blandin. She is 3 years old and from Honduras. She is the same age as Lydia, but she is not a substitute for Lydia. I will always have a special place for her in my heart. But God has used this small child to give me new hope. God used this experience to lift me up and set me again on the rock of His promise, to give me a new song to sing. And this child, this little child now has hope. She will have the good food, warm clothes, discipleship, and education she needs. She too has been lifted up and now has a new song to sing, a song of glory to the Lord.
We can all be hope to someone else. And when we are hope to others it gives us hope. I'm not saying go out and sponsor a Compassion child, if you did it would be great but get two, they're small, but that's not the message here.
We can be the instruments of God to produce hope in others. Think about the impact of that sentence. You can be the instruments of God to produce hope in others. God can and will use you, if you let Him. To pull a friend from a mire of their circumstances. To reach out and gather into God's presence, a person who thinks they are beyond redemption. We gain hope by being hope. And there are people in your community counting on you, even if they don't know it.
Whenever you are hope for someone, whenever God places you in the position to fulfill His promises for another person. The impact of that act is like a shockwave, that never stops affecting that person's life. I'll give you an example.
I'm not going to go into my full testimony here today. Sorry you will have to wait for that little gem for another time but, I will tell you this; I was a complete idiot in high school. I finished high school here in Kelowna B.C. I was bullied and picked on, so much so that I started to lash out at others who I saw as weaker than me. One was a young girl named Kim. As far as I can remember she was the only Christian I knew in high school, and I tormented that poor girl, and not in a good way that boys sometimes do when they liked someone. Her faith annoyed me, probably because I had none myself. I wasn't the worst person in school to her, but I was bad. Funny thing is, no matter how badly people treated her, she always responded with grace and forgiveness. It bugged me so much!
I remembered her strength latter on in some of the darkest times of my life. The memories were always tinged with guilt for what I had done to cause her to need that strength. But she still gave me hope that I could somehow survive. If she did, I could. Just a few weeks ago, I ran into Kim for the first time in over 20 years. I didn't turn my life over to Christ until I was 30 years old, so she had no idea the change that had come over me. I had the chance to ask forgiveness for the way I had treated her, and let her know she was right all along about God, and that I was wrong. And that she had been hope for me when I had none. Being hope for someone else has a lasting spiritual value.
We can be hope in another person's life. We can act as instruments of God, and examples of what living for Christ looks like. All we have to do is watch for opportunities and listen for God's direction. It is hard to be depressed when we are being lifted up by our church family. It is hard to be without hope when we are being the hope for others. It is hard become stuck and stressed in our circumstance, when we know we have salvation and support through our Lord Jesus Christ! Come on get excited about this! I am! The only time I have trouble is when I let Satan distract me from that. So when you see your brother or your sister in Christ being distracted by Satan's lies. You remind them, that they are not alone, and they have the hope of Jesus Christ.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
Depression, fear and circumstance can all make us lose hope. We can get bogged down in life and feel like hope is the illusion, but we cannot lose heart. God stands behind us and within us, and all around us. He is calling for you today to be that hope someone needs.