Anticipating and Hoping For People

Anticipating and Hoping For People

Sister Miki Terayama - 14 March 2021

Weekend Devotion: Anticipating and Hoping For People

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Dear brothers and sisters, today we are on the topic of hope, and particularly having hope in the people around us. Now many times, we feel that to have hope in someone, is to be nice to them or saying good things to them. However, in truth, it is when our hearts are in line with the truth of God that we can truly anticipate for a person’s life. And not only for us, for the person we are hoping for, the first and most important evidence we see in their life is not just their outward portrayal, good works or personality, but to see that their heart values. And the way a person values the gospel reveals the work of the Holy Spirit in their heart. Are they giving what are scraps to the Lord, or are they giving their best and all for Him? Now, of course, even when a person is like Mary, having chose the good part and gave their best to the Lord, it doesn’t mean they will not have weaknesses. But that they will continue to turn to and trust the Lord even as they struggle through their shortfalls. Their weakness will not merely be a crippling factor, but an enabling strength to propel them to look to the mercy of the Lord. Their lack will propel them to trust in the Lord’s provision instead. That is the reason why Paul can and is hopeful about the Philippi Church. That is what Paul meant in Philippians 1:6, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” But how do we develop this kind of hope, that Paul had, for the people around us? How to have hope in people who may disappoint, reject, hurt or refute us?

 

Hope that stems from Christ.

In Philippians 1:20-21, Paul says, “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

Now from this verse, we can see that Paul’s hope stems from Christ, whom he believes will put all things to good at the end. So as he does all things in earnestness, he is not one who loses hope easily, because he knows that the strength, love and zeal he has for the Philippi Church was put in him by the Lord. Now, look into Paul’s life. Even while he was in prison, he serves with a hope. So let us not be quick to say we have no hope just because of some failures or struggles we meet. And for us parents, which of us can say we have no hope for our kids because of their problems? Now a few days back, I was having a Parent Teacher Meeting with my daughter’s teachers. I was expecting a short session because my daughter always had positive feedback for meetings like this. However, the session ran on longer this time with a lot of revelations about her mean behaviour to her friends in class, nasty remarks made when she thought no one was watching, and how she is very demanding in the way she speaks, making her friend cry. I was quite taken aback because this is unprecedented. I was very apologetic to the teachers after the meeting and I was, of course in my human tendency, disappointed and feeling a little disheartened by all these “drama” in school by my little girl. But against all these typical parenting mindset, I took a quick time to pray and God spoke to me in a total opposite way of what my mind was trying to churn out. My thoughts were to think of solutions on how to teach her manners, about managing her emotions and stuff like that. But the Lord told me, the more we are in the roles God has called us into, the more we serve in them, regardless of the present outcomes or conditions, we should have hope nonetheless because the Lord Himself is establishing the work of our hands. So as parents we should hope in the Lord about our kids, not our methods or will. As someone with non-believing family members, we should hope in the Lord for their salvation. As a brethren, we should hope in God’s work in each other. We should learn from Paul, to stem our every hope from Christ alone.

 

Continue to grow in the gospel

Next, from Paul’s example and the way he hopes for the Philippi Church, we can also see that he continually teaches them and writes to them. This is a very critical element about true hoping. Sometimes, our hope can be very baseless and not rooted if we do not teach people to grow in the gospel. If a parent does not bring their child up in the instructions of the Lord, what kind of hope will he or she have? When a church leader does not teach his congregation well in the complete gospel, what is his hope based upon? All they will have are human relationships or friendships that may one day fade away. And if we want to have real hope that our unbelieving family or loved ones will draw near to the Lord, then we have to keep witnessing to them. If we merely know but are doing nothing to help them get to know or learn more about the Word of God, our hope will not sustain. So once we have to hope from Christ as we anticipate for someone’s life, we have to continue to find ways to help them draw close to God’s scriptures and guidance.

 

Be joyful as we are hopeful

Finally, let us learn from Paul to also be joyful as he is hopeful about the Philippi Church. Sometimes, we focus too much on the negative part of things. Why isn’t this person changing? Why are they still going back to their old ways? How long are they going to be stuck in this weakness? And other times, in our bustling society and culture, we may get too busy and numb to the people around us. We are not really happy when we see them but rather just feel tired and want time for ourselves. Now, that in itself, is not hopeful. Sometimes, when I pick my kids up after school, I look and feel tired, and I can sense that they are not so happy too. But when I welcome them home with joy and anticipation of spending time with them, they feel it and it affects them as well. This is true when we are talking to brethren or our loved ones. We may have a lot of burden to teach others, but let us feel the joy of the Lord when we see them, because that tells them that we are also hopeful about them. Being joyful about men is also being hopeful about them. But this joy is not about putting on a front or a smiling face, but from the depths of our hearts, we know God’s heart to love us and the people He placed around us. How God values their lives and is hopeful for them, that is why, we partake and is in sync with God’s heart as well.

Brothers and sisters, in the journey of hoping on the people around us, there may be many setbacks and struggles, but let this be a refining phase for ourselves and for the people we love that hope truly comes from none other than the Lord Himself and when we lean upon Him, He will guide and sustain us.

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Miki Terayama
miki.terayama@gmail.com

Miki is a full-time ministry staff at The Blessed Run Ministries. She is a sister who shares a natural, God-given affinity with children and youths. She is married to Randy (NET Group Youth Leader) and has two little ones of her own, Liora and Jude. She is involved in the children, youth and social media ministries.

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