by Erin Bird
Last week, my family was able to slip away to the Twin Cities for the long Labor Day weekend. It was incredibly fun and relaxing.
On Labor Day itself, my boys and I went to Target Field to see our beloved Kansas City Royals play the Minnesota Twins. We had a blast riding the Metro, taking in the game, seeing the stadium, and just soaking in the atmosphere of a Major League baseball game.
The game, however, started in the Twins favor. Ian Kennedy, the Royals pitcher, was on the mound, and in the past he has dominated the Twins. But on the very first pitch, Brian Dozier of the Twins blasted a home-run, then did it again two innings later to lead the way to a a 4-2 lead for the Twins after 4 innings.
But that's when the rails fell off for the Twins.
A couple of homers and a dozen hits later over the next 4 innings, the Royals went up 11-4. Many Twins fans got up at the end of the 8th inning and headed home (missing Dozier's third home run of the game). The video boards out in center field were encouraging the fans to get loud, but the Twins fans sat silent. The only cheering was from the several thousand Royals fans that were in attendance. The home team fans had lost hope of winning the game.
That's what a loss of hope does. When we have no hope, we lose enthusiasm. We disengage. We pull back. We leave early.
That's why Paul tells us in Romans 12:12:
"Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer."(HCSB)
When a person makes a decision to follow Jesus, it should fill them with hope. Hope that God is with them. Hope that God loves them despite their circumstances. And hope that this world is not all there is.
But when you lose hope in life and God, you won't endure affliction. You won't keep praying to God. You disengage spiritually. You pull back relationally. Some people even leave life early because they have no hope.
This is why the gospel is not just the ABC's of the Christian faith, it is the A-Z of your faith. When you keep returning to the gospel, you are filled again with hope. The Jesus Story reminds you that you are loved and never alone. Jesus' life and death shows you how to be patient in affliction. His resurrection inspires you to be persistent in prayer. His substitutionary atonement gives you hope that you are forgiven and your relationship with God restored.
All of the gospel, therefore, shows you that the difficulty you are going through isn't the end - that your life has been changed through faith and grace. And that's why you can be persistent. You can keep going. You can persevere in prayer. You can be patient in the middle of suffering.
So if you are without hope, turn to Jesus. Look at His life, death, and resurrection, and allow the truth of the gospel renew a right spirit within you, restoring your hope. Because with hope, you'll be able to go to work, to your neighbors, to your clubs, to your school, and even in your home and be a blessing to those around you.
Persist like Jesus. Don't give up. Cling to hope in the gospel. And let it guide you into rejoicing at who Jesus is and what He's done.
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