I'm very thankful that optimism comes easy to me, in most situations anyways. To be quite honest, my mind baffles me. How can I be such an optimist but still struggle with fear and anxiety the way I do? While I do not have an exact answer for that, I believe that it has something to do with my sin nature pushing worry against my new mind in Christ who wants to hope in his Word and the truth that is there. It's complicated. I'm complicated. But, God still loves me and that gives me hope and optimism!
This morning, on the radio, I caught two minutes of an interview with a man who was working with foreign people groups. I did not hear where he was at, or what work he was doing. But, I heard something that I will keep tucked away whenever ministry needs arise. He said, "People just need hope. Hope for today. Hope for tomorrow. And hope for eternity."
Since it is really cold out, and my house is nice and warm, I abandoned my car radio and headed inside without listening to whatever else the wise man had to say. But, I've been rolling that sentence over in my head and in my heart for the last hour.
I never realized there was a distinct difference. Oh, but there is! Hope for today is that someone hears you, someone is with you, and someone cares about how you are today. Right now.
Hope for tomorrow...I think about that when I ponder about how hard we are working to pay off our debt. Will we ever not struggle the way we do? We want to know that financial freedom can be attained. We want to know that tomorrow we will have enough to eat. It would be hard to get past today if you are worried about your needs being met tomorrow. Trust me. I've been there so many times in my life.
And hope for eternity. It never really hit me until this morning that people who do not have hope for today or tomorrow really can not even think about eternity. How can you think about God and Heaven if you don't know where your next meal is coming from? No wonder the Erie City Mission has such a great influence on people spiritually They meet the first two needs so that the third need of hope can be realized.
As I continued to think about it, it made me think about my friend Erin. (Here's her blog!) Erin and her husband are adopting two children from Eastern Europe. They are providing hope for today and hope for tomorrow in hopes to provide hope for eternity for these two little angels.
I think about my friends Will and Erin who volunteer overnight at a homeless shelter, sharing life with people who have no where else to go. They are providing hope for today and hope for tomorrow in hopes to provide hope for eternity for countless men and women during the cold winter months.
How about us? Not everyone can adopt a baby. Here at the Humes' household, we are working out that whole "Hope for tomorrow thing" with our finances first. And not everyone lives in the same town as a homeless shelter, or can leave their families overnight.
But, there are very specific things we can do.
Look around you. There are families struggling everywhere. What is one skill or talent you can offer them? Or maybe you can even offer financial assistance. Can you bake your neighbors some cookies and visit with them? Maybe they haven't had someone listen to them in a very long time.
Perhaps you can help shovel snow? Give an elderly person or a mom at home with a small baby some hope that just for today they don't have to figure out how to shovel all that snow.
Maybe you can offer someone a ride and carpool to help them save money on their gas budget? Or pick a family you know is struggling and purchase a grocery gift card for them?
Or even offering a smile to stranger. There's encouragement, edification and promise in smiles friends. Let's not forget that.
There are so many ways to offer hope.
As the Christmas season draws near, what should be a season of hope and amazement often ends up being a bleak reminder of how hopeless one can feel. Reach out. Offer hope. For today. For tomorrow. For eternity.