An Anthem of Hope

Passion


by Josh Wolford | April 30, 2018

I have a friend who is going through extremely difficult family stuff right now. I can’t share the details because they’re not mine to share. But to be certain, he’s dealing with things you never want to deal with. He is way across the other side of the country so we settled for talking on the phone. I heard him out and I think I gave him some decent advice. I gave him a little wisdom – whatever I could offer. I gave him a bit of perspective. We had a pretty good conversation. But I would trade out all my decent advice for God’s relentless and enthusiastic love to come flooding into his soul and situation. In other words, I wish I would have just said, “My friend…I know what you’re going through is draining and depressing. It vacuums the air right out of your lungs and soul. But I’m going to take you before the throne of God in prayer right now… because God’s love and power can’t be diminished by any circumstance (no matter HOW dire) and His love can’t be contained or controlled or earned and it’s so thorough and wild, it can’t be predicted. May you go before the Good, Good Father and let His love flood in and do the work that only He can do.”

And then I would have reminded him that God’s love can overturn the ugliest, darkest moments and turn them into resounding anthems of hope. Proof of that? Look no further than the cross.

I actually got my first tattoo this past week. I got the cross. Not an ornate one, just two simple lines. And yet these two lines form a symbol that has endured for two thousand years and will continue to reverberate for an eternity.

I wanted this cross on me for the rest of my life for all the reasons you already know… for the life that He has to offer me through the cross, to honor His sacrifice, but also because it is a subversive symbol of hope. Not only did Jesus not return violence with violence, He redeemed the whole thing. He took the destruction and cruelty and death and buried it all with Him and He was raised to new life. In short, Jesus did what Pastor Jeff has told us many times before, He took the ugliest death in the history of time and turned it into an enduring symbol of hope. And if God can do this with the cross, then He can come into your life and bring healing and new life.

Through the cross, Jesus is continually reminding us that darkness and pain and suffering and dire circumstances never have the last word!

So,
to you my broken hearted friends…
to you who see not a ray of light…
to you who have told yourself, “this is just the way it’s going to be.”…
to you who have forgotten the spark of the Divine that lives within you…
to you who just lost your business…or loved one… or your health…
to you who has been sad for longer than you even realize…
to the abused, forgotten, and left behind…

Remember this…that God has overcome all the brokenness so that you don’t have to. Instead of fighting tooth and nail by yourself and definitely instead of giving up, may you simply welcome in God’s enthusiastic and redeeming love, let it flood into your heart, may it change your eyes and the way you see your circumstances and this world we live in, and as the Apostle Paul says in Romans 15.13:
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Now there’s an anthem of hope. May you claim it…memorize it…sing it…live it.


Josh Wolford
Josh is a husband, father, pastor, and aspiring laundromat missionary. He is incredibly curious about the way people connect with each other and with God.