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Hope is Stronger Than Fear

According to a recent news report, in the decade since September 11, 2001, the number of terrorist attacks each year around the world has more than quadrupled. That's thousands of innocent lives lost through senseless acts of violence. Consequently, many of us find ourselves living in a constant state of low-grade paranoia, halfway holding our breath as we turn on the morning news.

With every flashback of the collapsing towers, every shaky video of machine gun toting rebels, every image of all-too still children, our hearts are jolted, and our own mortality stares us in the eyes, daring us to blink. And the result is fear.

It's been said that the only thing stronger than fear is hope. Hope that things may not be as bad as they look. Hope that there is Someone bigger, stronger, more loving than the author of our fear. The key for us is in knowing where to find that hope. And, of course, our all-gracious, all-loving, Author of hope God has made that search crystal clear. I like the way the apostle Peter put it...

"In [God's] great mercy He has given us a new birth and a hope that is alive. It is alive because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. He has given us new birth so that we might share in what belongs to Him. It is a gift that can never be destroyed." (1 Peter 1:3-4)

A hope that is alive... A gift that can never be destroyed. Encouraging? Yes. But I'm also thankful that God doesn't gloss over our all-too-human fear of the inevitable- our fear of dying. In the book of Hebrews, we find that He went to the greatest lengths imaginable to break us free from the power of Heath.

"God's children are human beings-made of flesh and blood-Jesus also became flesh and blood... For only as a human being could He die, and only by dying could He break the power of the devil, who had the power of death ... [and] deliver those who have lived all their lives as slaves to the fear of dying." (Hebrews 2:14, 15)

Jesus came to break the power of death and deliver us from the fear of dying. By doing so, He reminds us that His power is the strongest of all. There's an old hymn that says, "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness... On Christ the Solid Rock I stand... all other ground is sinking sand." Jesus is that "Solid Rock." Jesus is our "Hope" in death.

A few years ago there was a note found on the body of a dead soldier. It beautifully revealed how this one who faced death so readily held tightly to a life-sustaining hope. He wrote:

"I am standing on the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails in the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch her until at length she is only a ribbon of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says, "There! She's gone!" Gone where? Gone from my sight... that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as when she left my side, and just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination. Her diminished size is in me... not in her ... and just at the moment when someone at my side says, "There! She's gone!" ...there are other voices ready to take up the glad shout, "There! She comes!" And THAT is dying."

My hope is built on nothing less... than Jesus. ALL other ground is sinking sand. The ground of vivid fear. The ground of perpetual paranoia. The ground of an uncertain future. ALL other ground is powerless... because of Him. Which leads me to an obvious question. Do you know Him? Do you have the peace and hope that only Jesus can give? It's not as hard as you may think. Open your life to Him. Receive His peace. Find rest in Hope.

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Related Verse
God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
- James1:12 NLT
Related Prayer
Dear God, sometimes my "testing" season seems so long. Please give me courage to endure until the end. Help me not to bail! You said you would bless me for hanging in there - I will not give up on you or your promises. You are with me and will see me through this trial.