“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:19a
Some of my favorite memories as a kid were summers when I spent a week or two with both sets of my grandparents. My grandmother’s were both librarians in their small communities, so I was happily enrolled in two Summer Reading Clubs . . . it was great! While my dad’s parents lived in the Central Valley of California, my mom’s parents lived in the nearby mountains of the Sierra Nevada’s. I still treasure the evenings we spent laying out on lounge chairs from our mountain perch as we scanned the heavens for satellites. They were special times marked by soft laughter as one of us excitedly thought we spotted a satellite but then realized it was just an airplane. Those times we saw a satellite moving across the sky in a sort of tumbling rotation, were filled with a quiet awe. It was during those evenings that we gained a healthy awareness of our smallness in comparison with the stars in God’s universe. I don’t know how many satellites we saw in an evening, but there were enough that we were drawn back night after night in the hope of seeing “just one more . . . .”
I share this memory because it has encouraged me as I have helped a friend whose sister is very ill with cancer. Medically, everything that can be done has been tried; Hospice has been called and is helping with her care at home. My friend’s sister loves the Lord and has said she appreciates hearing Scripture being read. So, I have helped locate passages to read that will encourage both sisters as God tends to their hearts. Now it has become a time of watching and waiting to see what God will do . . . .
Desiring a godly perspective as I seek to encourage these precious sisters, I looked to Jesus’ example for insight as He:
- Ministered to hurting people.
- Prepared His friends for His death.
- Faced what He knew was coming; His coming arrest and demise.
One of the things that stood out to me is that Jesus was always concerned with ministering to the spiritual needs before the physical. He was also consistent in pointing others beyond their immediate circumstance to His Father’s eternal promises (the Hope of Heaven) that belong to all who believe in Him. I found blessing and direction as I reflected on His words and actions:
- Offering comfort to His friends Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
- Jesus declared, “Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” John 16:22
- The writer to the Hebrews later captured the mindset of Jesus for us to learn from saying, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12: 2,3
Last week, I put together a Journey Notes Praise Journal for my friend to work on with her sister as a sort of experiment. It struck me that it might be used as an instrument of blessing as they log their praises and concerns and look to the wisdom and perspective of Scripture. My prayer is that as they give thanks to their God of Hope (Romans 15:13) they will find encouragement and a deepened faith in their watching and waiting.
“It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the One who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in His presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” II Corinthians 4:13-18