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Fill your heart and soul with the hope of Jesus

MEIER-JUSTIN-SIGIn his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” Viktor Frankl tells of his years trapped in the indescribable horrors of Auschwitz and Dachau. He was transported there like a despised animal and given two minutes to strip naked or be whipped. Every hair was shaved from his body, and he was condemned to a living death. His father, mother, brother and wife died in the camps or were sent to the gas ovens.

His existence was full of cold, fear, starvation, pain and terror. Frankl wrote that he was able to survive because he never lost the quality of hope. Those prisoners who lost faith in the future were doomed. When a prisoner lost hope, Frankl said, he let himself decline, becoming subject to mental and physical decay. He would die from the inside out. Frankl said that this usually happened quite suddenly. One morning a prisoner would just refuse to get up. He wouldn’t get dressed or wash or go outside to the parade grounds. No amount of pleading by his fellow prisoners would help. No threatening by the captors would have any effect. Losing all hope, he had simply given up. He would lie there in his own excrement until he died. American soldiers later told Frankl that this behavior pattern existed among prisoners of war as well, and was called “give-up-itis.” When a prisoner lost hope, said Frankl, “he lost his spiritual hold.”

Hope is like fresh air – pure, crisp and clean. It expands the lungs with vision and purpose for a better tomorrow no matter what crisis or let down is happening today. You’ll run out of breath for living if you don’t have hope and let it oxygenate your heart, body and mind. When you take hold of hope with a strong grip, it will enable you to face the heartbreak and challenges of today for the possibilities that lie beyond them. It’s funny how we often feel alone and isolated with our issues, when the truth is that we ALL face hardship. The economy, our health, the relationships we have, our careers and so on are not immune to breakdown and chaos.

But when we have hope filling our lungs, seeping into our blood, giving our spirits pure oxygen, it lifts our eyes out of the problem and to the Savior. He brings life where there is decay and atrophy. He works a situation weighed down with sin and heartache and turns it for our good and benefit to become more like him. We just need to keep breathing in His hope and gripping onto it with our tightest grip possible – determining to seize it – seize Him!

Hebrews 6 says, “Hope is an anchor for our souls.” If you find yourself with slippery hands or out of breath because of whatever it is you’re facing, it’s time to turn to the one that provides the air and grit for our hearts.  Turn to the one who is HOPE. Fix your eyes on Him and let the hope of Jesus fill your life and give you the energy to not just make it, but to thrive.

My prayer for you this weekend is that no matter where you find yourself worshiping, you hear and experience the hope of Jesus in a practical way for your everyday life.

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