I realise this post has the potential to spark a measure of controversy, though that’s certainly not my intention.

Here are some questions for you:

What makes Christians different from those who don’t love Jesus?

What do they have that non-Christians don’t possess?

What marks them and sets them apart from the rest of mankind?

You might be thinking of the word, “forgiveness.” Amen, and thank God for it.

Forgiveness is a huge aspect that sets Christians apart from those who are not.

The presence of the Holy Spirit is another major component we shouldn’t ignore.

There’s another significant difference that always strikes me whenever a non-Christian person has died:

It’s the element of hope. Its absence is deafening in a funeral home.

 

hope

 

In 1 Thessalonians 4:13 Paul writes to the believers, “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope” (emphasis mine).

“The rest of mankind, who have no hope.”

Isn’t that just so sad?

Doesn’t it make you want to reach out and offer hope to those who don’t have it? 

Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

As believers in Christ’s death and resurrection, we have confidence. We have assurance. We have hope.

Let’s rejoice today in this gift of hope. Let’s hold unswervingly to the anchor of our souls.

 

Anchor Hope

And let’s do everything in our power and in God’s to be a beacon of hope to those in the darkness.

 

***

Letters to Grief - Final cover

Part of the reason I wrote my e-book, Letters to Grief, was to offer hope.

If you know someone who might be in need of hope today, consider sending them a copy of this short book. It’s only 20 pages long, and it’s only $0.99, so you really can’t go wrong.

Maybe it’s the first step that God is nudging you to take in offering hope today. Or maybe you’re the one in desperate need of an anchor.

Either way, I pray this book is a blessing. 

I wake in the wake of tragedy.

Though I was nowhere near the coastline of the horrific events that rocked the ship of Sandy Hook Elementary School, the resulting ripples have reverberated across an ocean.

Absolutely tragic.  Senseless.  Heartbreaking.

Just a few of the plethora of words that come to mind as I read about the Connecticut school massacre.

To be completely honest, if I were waking up in the United States today, I would be terrified to send my children to school next week.

But then again, who’s to say the same couldn’t happen in South Africa?  Or India?  Or Brazil?

When hearing news like this, one could easily be paralyzed by fear of the ‘what ifs.’  Fear that it might happen to our own children.

Yet there is something stronger than fear.

A quote from an unexpected source articulates it well.  In the film, The Hunger Games, the following exchange takes place between two prominent figures in the twisted and disturbing competition:

“Seneca, why do you think we have a winner?” Snow asks while cutting a white rose.

“What do you mean?” Seneca asks.

“I mean, why do we have a winner?” Snow repeats, before pausing.

“Hope.”

“Hope?” Seneca replies, slightly bewildered.

“Hope.  It is the only thing stronger than fear. A little hope is effective.  A lot of hope is dangerous,” Snow declares.  “Spark is fine, as long as it’s contained. So, contain it.”

Anchor rope tied to boat's bowAs the boat in Connecticut sways back and forth with raw grief, post-traumatic stress and fear of the unthinkable, there is one element that can steady the vessel.

Hope.

Not just any hope, but hope in the One who can still every fear, calm every thrashing heart and give light in depths of darkness.

Hope in a life beyond the here and now … hope in eternity.

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Hebrews 6:19).

My heart goes out to those who have suffered loss in this nightmare – and my prayer is that each one will cling to the One anchor who gives hope … a hope stronger and more powerful than any manmade fear.

For more ‘Snapshots of Hope,’ check out Hope Chaser Nasreen Fynewever’s blog here.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/horiavarlan/4442764722/