Hope enters the world every single time a baby is born. Where does our hope come from? What do you do when that hope crashes, when uncertainties and anxiety steal that hope? I have three children and have such hopes and dreams for them. New parents love to examine every sweet detail when they hold that precious child for the first time. I also have seven grandchildren and with each birth comes a new expression of hope. I can hope because I know God has plans for them. And those plans are good. But what if your precious baby gets sick? Or has a life impacting disability? Good plans? Can I have a rock solid hope that His plans are good?
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 – New International Version
I remember unwrapping the blue and pink striped hospital blanket that swaddled my first newborn. My husband and I had been transformed into parents. Bewildered parents. A new mother, a new father, a new baby, a new family. A new hope for the future. We all started the journey into uncharted territories. Ashley scrunched her eyes as the unfamiliar light revealed her splotchy face. We marveled over her tiny fingers and toes, her jerky movements as limbs were free of the confines of my womb. But mostly we hoped. Her future was bright, as yet unmarred by the obstacles and hardships that come to all of us.
I had hope for my precious daughter, but the challenges of caring for a newborn soon bumped those lofty hopes against the shoals of reality. I remember sitting on the edge of our bed at 3 in the morning holding a squalling newborn. She had just been fed and changed and I had no idea what to do with her next. Tears of fatigue streamed down my cheeks. Have you been there? My husband gently lifted Ashley from my lap. He tucked her under his arm like a football and walked her around our small house. His calmness and soothing tuneless song finally lulled Andrea to sleep.
My hopes for her were still bright, but like a shining bubble riding a breeze, tantalizing but of reach as I struggled with sleepless nights. Aren’t hopes like that? Caught in the updrafts and swirling eddies of the challenges of life? I get it, a sleepless period with a newborn is not exactly hope shattering. But as I moved through her young life there was a time when I watched helplessly as she crashed and burned through no fault of her own. Where were God’s good plans? Yet to come.
My hopes and faith were stretched even as we floundered
Time moves relentlessly on as I am bumped from one stage of life to the next. I remind myself of the hope I had for my children, the dreams of a good future for them back when I was so overjoyed by the newness of life. As my adult children face heartbreak and suffer through their own challenges of dashed hopes I go back to the truth which anchors me, anchors them.
The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.
Lamentations 3:22-25 New American Standard Bible NASB
His compassions and ever loving mercies are new every morning. Hope… for those who wait for Him, seek Him. I have to slow myself down as I rush through this passage that I’ve read so many times. What are His compassions? How can they be new every morning since the beginning of time? What is our blessed hope? As I thrust my thoughts upward I let my heart expand around new feelings of hope. While it’s good to hope for a bright future for your children, I look for the ultimate future that those who believe in Him will enjoy. Can I do that? Can you do that? Can I free myself of today’s worries?
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13- NASB
This is a beautiful promise of peace, joy and hope as I trust in Him. I am pressed between two generations. Or three? I am constantly lifting my kids up in prayer as they have their unique challenges and concerns. I am learning to trust and rest in the hope God has for me. And for my children. My son is challenged by his own physical ailments and also deals with school issues as his little girl is being bullied in 2nd grade. My daughter has heartaches of her own as she deals with some unexpected challenges. Life is tough! My other daughter is rejoicing in caring for her newborn in a big city and hopes to stay home to care for him, not an easy thing in one of the most expensive places in the world to live.
The hopes I have for my parents are tempered by the reality of frail bodies and minds. My parents live in the small town where I grew up and face challenges in their assisted living care center. My heart jumps to my throat when I get calls from their nurse and then deal with new issues as they struggle with the infirmities of old age. I worry about driving there to visit and to replenish some supplies for them while the Midwest is caught in the grips of record cold.
Even small worries plague me
as I take my two little dogs outside to do their duty. They lift their paws above the freezing ice and snow and are confined to paths my husband has shoveled for them in the yard as they can’t pee when the snow is piled up above their backs. Small worries in the larger scheme of things, but my hope is bigger than that as I look to the future promised to me. And to you.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
1 Peter 5:10
Can I be firm and steadfast, strong and full of hope, joy, and peace? No I can’t. Not in my own strength.
Our hope is based on the grace of God
Without God’s grace, we would have no hope. The hope we have as we tenderly hold a newborn baby inspires us with dreams of a good future. But the certainty of that hope, intertwined in God’s grace, gives us a confident expectation that things will work out for our good. Jesus Christ, who came as a newborn to give us hope through God’s grace, is the ultimate gift. The hope we feel when we hold a baby is a reminder of the Christ child and the hope He gives to all of His children.
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
Hope through grace. Hope in the newborn Christ child. Cling to it. Embrace it. We may never understand God’s plan, but we know it’s ultimately good. Amazing grace and our eternal hope are astounding gifts! Hope, joy, peace in Him. I’ve got this!
*Eda Leshan – She was an American author who often wrote about the inherent integrity of children. She died in 2002.