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And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:5

I love the story of ‘The Polar Express’. This simple Christmas story captures the wonder and excitement of the Christmas celebration and the process in which we all come to realize that the wonder of Santa Claus is simply a story that many of us grow out of as we become ‘older and more refined’.

But ‘The Polar Express’ is also a symbol of what happens when hope dies. As we grow older we lose hope in the myth of Santa Claus, but we never lose the dream of ‘what if’. We never lose the wonder of what lay behind those wrapped packages under the tree or the excitement when the gift we made or purchased is celebrated by the one we chose to bless with it.

Losing ‘hope’ in Santa Claus isn’t a terrible tragedy. We learn to outgrow Santa. Losing hope in other areas, on the other hand, can cripple us for life or, at best leave us bruised, battered and hobbling along the path we call life.

We put hope in relationships, careers, and our health. But relationships fail. Jobs come to an end. We come to a point in our lives when we realize…we’re old, and with age can come the realization that some of our dreams just simply will not come true.

Hope fails when our hope is placed in things that, because of time and circumstance, fail. Even the best of relationships will end with death. Jobs and careers change with society. Aging is a natural consequence of time.  

Hope that endures the tests of time can only come through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Relationship isn’t an object, it’s an organism. It’s not something you do; it’s something you work on every day. Hope that is built on a love relationship with God never ever fails because love never fails.

Too often we put our hope in God and when things don’t go the way we ‘hope’ we instinctively play the blame game. God’s an easy one to blame. You can’t see Him. He makes all these claims to be powerful and loving and merciful and just yet, we are surrounded by hate and injustice and death. But in those quiet, brutally honest times with our thoughts we have to admit that the pain we suffer isn’t the result of God, but the actions of evil people around us.

Hope built on God will not spare us the pain and the bruises of life. Hope built on God may not immediately take away the pain of divorce or the crippling action of disease or the consequences of addictive behavior or our poor choices.

Hope built on God will enable us to grow in relationship with Him and help us to endure all the trials of life. Hope in earthly things will fail. Hope in God never fails because all of God’s love is poured out on us through His Spirit and it fills our inner being with peace in the midst of the storm.

PRAYER: Holy God, I look around me and see so many things that have failed in my life. Some of those things are a result of my own stupid choices. Some are result of unrealistic expectations of myself, others or even you. I ask that your Holy Spirit would empower me to place all my hope in you so that I can have the inner peace I need to endure life because of your love. In Jesus name I pray this. Amen.

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December 2010
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