“Take a Hope Inventory”
At every holiday season, we usually take an inventory. The holiday box gets pulled out and we see if we have what we need for the coming celebration. If you haven’t already, you will pull out the “Easter” box to take inventory, linens, decorations, baskets, straw, the Paas egg coloring, etc.
There is, however, one other very important item you’ll need, perhaps the most important item. It is what this season is all about. It’s hope. I can assure you, you won’t find it in the box. You can’t put your hand on it, but it’s very real. It’s inside, it’s a part of your beliefs, your philosophy, your faith.
For most of the world, the “season” we are in is significant in some way. We all appreciate the change in weather as we at least try to leave the chill of winter and begin feeling the warmth of spring. New life is appearing from the ground and in the branches. This gives us hope for a change we’ve all been waiting for, except for those die hard winter sports fanatics. It is also a season of spiritual hope and renewal for believers around the world. The difference of focus, sometimes creates a little cultural tension.
The devout Christian might be a little frustrated when it seems it’s all about the “bunny”, or looked at simply as a season of renewal with no mention of the resurrection of Jesus. Good hearted spiritual minded folks who are not particularly religious wonder why a “story” or “fable” of someone rising from the dead has to be a part of the celebration.
Personally, I wish we could all put our hope in the promise of renewal and power of God revealed in the resurrection, but we live in a wonderful world of differences, and it’s ok that we can all choose what or who we put our hope in.
I guess my point is, what we have in common is that we all need something to put our hope in. Notice I didn’t say we all need to “hope for” something. No, we all need something to put our “hope in”. There’s a big difference, but that’s another devotional! Who would deny that after this past year with all of its difficulties and trials and even losses, we all need a time of renewal, a time when our hope is restored. We are not wired to be fulfilled when the old just repeats itself, we find no joy when there is no hope.
The apostle Paul was no stranger to circumstances which would cause most people to lose hope. He instead said that these difficult circumstances are the very thing which God uses to produce hope within us. About this hope which God produced within him, he says, “and this hope does not disappoint us, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit…”
So as we exit a difficult season, and now enter into a “season of hope”, ask yourself, “What in my life box of beliefs, do I put my hope in”? Take a hope inventory. My hope (pun intended) is that your hope is in the One who will never disappoint you.
Have a blessed Easter/Resurrection Day!
Chaplain John Neilon