Have you ever asked a question on hope when disaster strikes? Trying to make sense of why bad things happen, including floods, fires and earth quakes can be difficult. But we believe there is hope for those affected by the disaster. But now those affected by the disaster is us. This time it as us that saw the storm coming. While Hurricane Michael was days away, the predictions of strength and direction chilled us to the bone. We prayed and hoped that it would veer away as it has in the past. But this “monster” storm was not veering, and hope turned into despair when disaster knocked right on our front door. And it arrived just as vast and terrible as predicted. And as it cut through large swaths of the Panhandle, it destroyed more than our homes and environment, it could destroy our hope.
Something To Talk About:
Hurricane Michael deeply impacted us. We looked at the news coverage and felt helpless or overwhelmed in the wake of the destruction. It can be tough to know how to cope, or to find hope in the devastation. Remember these five points:
- Release your grief: The Bible says when you go through a season of loss, the first thing you need to do is release your grief. Tragedy always produces strong emotions — anger, fear, depression, worry, and sometimes guilt. When we have experienced a major loss, these enormous feelings bubble up within us. If we don’t deal with them now, it will take us far longer to recover. We deal with them by releasing them.
- Be ready to receive from others: Asking for help and accepting help are often so difficult for us. We want to be in charge, in control, and we pride ourselves on being self-sufficient. Many of us have been raised with the belief that it is somehow weak or shameful to ask for help. But don’t be afraid or too proud to accept help from others. Allow people to help you, to minister to you, to give you hope.
- Refuse to be bitter: When we face tests such as Hurricane Michael it is easy to become bitter. John Ortberg wrote, “Bitterness is like drinking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die.” Bitterness can harm us physically and spiritually and will erode hope for the future. The best way to fight bitterness is refuse to become bitter in the first place.
- Remember what’s important: There are many people who think they lost everything. But what they actually lost was all their worldly possessions. All of your stuff can be replaced and you may find that you don’t need as much stuff. But none of that stuff is more important than your relationship with God. There is no aspect of life any more important, than to know and to be in relationship with God.
- Rely on Jesus Christ: Jesus is reliable and unfailing, and we should hold onto Him in the midst of a storm. Come what may, Jesus Christ is the solid rock to which we cling. If you have Jesus, you have everything you need. He is our ever-present hope, “…our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)
- What would your life look like without hope?
- When have you been surprised by hope? How does hope make you different? How does hope play a role in your decision making?
- Do you find it hard to accept help from others? Why or why not?
- What is the best guardrail against bitterness?
- How do we remember what’s important in life’s storms?
- God uses all situations to teach and grow us in holiness? Agree or disagree and why?
- Do people who meet you leave more hopeful or less? In what situation is God calling you to become a person of hope?
- What steps can you take this week to rely more on Jesus Christ?
Take one thing home with you:
God is the source of our hope. Romans 15:13 says, “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
God is the source of hope and He gives hope. When God is in your heart and life, you have access to all the hope you need. But hope is not something that we drum up when things go well or let dissipate when they don’t. Hope doesn’t come from people or circumstances or situations, hope comes from God.
Gods desire for you is to be filled with hope but, not just filled or topped off but, to overflow with it. To have so much hope that everyone you meet is taken back by your hope. Even during Hurricane Michael.