A week ago today a tornado ripped through the heart of central Illinois leaving devastation and homelessness in its wake. But, like a tidal wave of hope, people, organizations, and communities gave of themselves to help those in need. In instances too numerous to mention people gave time, money, food, clothing, prayers, and hope. Central Illinois is not unique the same outpouring has been observed in the wake of many natural disasters. Like those other disasters, in a few weeks, a few months, the focus will turn to other things, other events, other heartaches. The tidal wave of assistance will subside, and it will be up to each individual to put their life back together. That is when the real work begins, and hard choices must be made. It is the time when hope is tested.
This test of hope is common to everyone at various times in their lives. It could be a natural catastrophe, a death of a loved one, the loss of a job, divorce, the breaking of a friendship or a promise. It could also be through the slow erosion that occurs in a loveless life, in a boring job, in a seemingly meaningless existence. All of these challenges test our hope or more specifically, where our hope is anchored.
The Bible suggests that the best anchorage of hope is found in the promises of God. The writer of Hebrew observes, “so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil.” (Hebrews 6:18–19, NASB95) No matter the storm of life someone may be facing, no matter the destruction they have been left with, if their hope is anchored by God’s promises in Jesus Christ they will make it through. They may have lost everything, but they will not lose themselves, their soul, their hope.