WEEK 4: MARCH 20-26
Raised for Hope
Jesus seems to have arrived too late to help his friend Lazarus and the despair of the witnesses is palpable in this story from the Gospel of John. In a state of hopelessness, Jesus brings the hope of Resurrection, the hope of eternal life, of that which can never be taken away. How does the hope of Resurrection encourage you? This week hear from some of our members who have found hope that surpasses illness, difficult circumstances, and hope that drastically changes who we are as Christians.
Hope in a Jail Cell
By Rev. John Wayne McMann
I think hope is something that we do not quite understand until we find ourselves in the throes of hopelessness. We understand the concept of hope and can give a gloss definition for it, but when it comes to the gumption and courage to conquer the unthinkable that is hard for our minds to comprehend. Recently, my family has walked through a dark valley where the only way out was to grasp for hope. My younger brother was sentenced to 17 years in prison just a few months ago and it has brought chaos into our life experience.
I imagine that the emotions I have felt during this season might help me understand what is going through Mary and Martha’s mind as their brother Lazarus slowly slips away, and eventually dies. They are desperately waiting for Jesus to arrive and hopefully work another miracle at just the right time. However, Jesus does not arrive in time. I have prayed for many years that my brother would be saved from his addiction struggles and that Christ would work a miracle at just the right time, but we are still waiting.
When Christ arrives and he learns that Lazarus is gone, it is clear that there is a feeling of hopelessness all around. Jesus then tells the dead man to step out of his grave clothes and in an instant hope shines in the darkest place—a tomb. The hope of the Resurrection is the power to defeat any tomb, or any jail cell, for that matter. The hope that my family has in Christ is a hope that can bring miracles when all hope seems lost. It is in that hope that we continue to trust in God, even at the beginning of a long prison sentence.
I pray that whatever you face, both now and in the future, you may be filled with hope that is greater than even death itself.
Spend some time praying about hope today. Write about it. What is the hope of the Resurrection? What does it mean to you?