“Hope deferred makes the heart grow sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12, NIV
An opportunity recently availed itself to remind a gathering of our people of the influence that they have with those with whom they work and train. We are all guilty of failing to realize the power of the influences that we have. I know when I get busy and perhaps even frustrated, the outflow of my heart exposes negative emotion and that largely it is caused by my selfishness when things are not going my way.
The message to the group with whom I spoke recently was along the context that as Christian leaders, our call is to be hope-givers in all circumstances. True hope looks beyond failures, negative circumstances, and into the eyes of each student where we see the gleam of an Image-bearer of the God of Creation.
The smell of evil is the stench of hopelessness. Withholding hope from a circumstance happens when we try to be God.
The fruit of the presence of the Holy Spirit has an ever-present aroma of hope at all times, in all circumstances. It is alive with a refreshing renewal and is a vibrant rebuilder of hope, relationships, purpose, confidence, courage and is an investor of people over things. It is an investor in relationships over results.
Most importantly, what keeps this from being some Pollyanna “feel good” mentality is that if we know our place is to be hope-givers, then we also know the Hope of the Grace of Jesus Christ. Paganism thinks that pain, death, and disappointment are “the real world” and that’s all there is. Believers in the Truth of the Cross know these things are painful distortions and that victory only comes through the Truth-giver. It is through the teachable moments of failures, mistakes, and shortcomings that present to us opportunities to lead others to the hope of Hope in the face of Truth and Justice.