Did you ever come to the end of a really long, cold winter that you were sure was never going to end? The sun finally comes out, but it’s still a bit cool so you pull out your favorite spring jacket or capri pants. You reach into the pocket and to your surprise you find a $10 bill you didn’t even know was there. You must have known it was there at one time because you most likely put it there. But it’s been a long winter, a long time since it was warm enough to wear that jacket or those capris. Even though you didn’t know it, that $10 bill was there all along just waiting for you to find it again.
Sometimes hope is like that $10 bill. We have it and we know it, but sometimes in the long hard winters of life we forget about it. The winter can be so long and so cold that we lose all memory of hope. But even though we don’t know it, hope is there all along just waiting for us to find it again.
Have you struggled a long time with an illness and can’t remember having any hope that you will be well? Fear not for hope is still there.
Have you despaired a long time because of unemployment and can’t remember having any hope of finding a new job? Fear not for hope is still there.
Have you been despondent for what seems like forever over the loss of a loved one and can’t remember having any hope of feeling joy again? Fear not for hope is still there.
Have you been in anguish over the state of our world, the corruption and greed of the rich that seems to rule the day, and can’t remember ever having hope for a better world? Fear not for hope is still there.
And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:3b-5.
We may forget our hope in the long, cold winters of life, but our hope — our God — is still there. Some of what we hope for will not see until we reach heaven. Sometimes illness leads to death and it is only in death that one is well again. Other times health and vitality are restored after a time.
And the corruption and greed of this world will not likely cease until this world ends and the new Heaven and new Earth written of in Revelations are at hand.
Other things that we hope for are often only a season away. With perseverance a new job may be found; with time a little joy may fill the heart of the broken-hearted.
For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. Romans 8:24-27.
The next time you are struggling through a long winter of life, go dig out that spring jacket and check the pocket. You may not remember you once had it, but I bet you’ll find that hope is still there.