Hope Isabelle Frierson, 4 months old, flashed her bright shiny eyes all around the church congregation. Pastor Chris Turnley, Executive Pastor of Expression Church in Austin, Texas was in the process of leading Hope’s parents in an oath to rear her in a Christian home.
Standing with Hope and her parents as witnesses to this joyous occasion were her big sister, Hadley, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and little cousins.
Upon arriving back at Hadley’s home after the ceremony, cameras flashed with everyone wanting to capture this moment. “Smile, Hope, smile,” and immediately she would flash her shiny big eyes and smile for the camera, never shedding a tear throughout the hour long photo session.
As I stood over in the corner of the living room waiting my turn to be photographed with my granddaughter, my mind flashed back to the day Hope’s mom, Heather, called me about a month before she was born and said: “We now have a name for the baby; it will be Hope.”
Immediately, I could literally feel something leap up inside of me. It made me think of Elizabeth when she heard the voice of Mary coming to tell her of her impending virgin birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (Luke 1:41)
It was one of those moments when you gasp for breath and you feel as though God is standing right there beside you saying, “Take notice; I have something I want to tell you.”
And, in the coming weeks, He did just that as He brought my faith to a new level with – yes, you guessed it, “HOPE”, a feeling of expectation and desire for certain things to happen.
I don’t know about you, but I confess that there are times I get discouraged along this journey through life. So much so, that I sometimes send out a distress signal toward heaven: “Are you still there, God?”
Did you ever notice that our distress calls are often met with silence, which makes it seem as though, yes, I will go ahead and say it: “God doesn’t really care about me. If He did, He’d fulfill His promises to me, and He’d dry all these tears from my eyes.” It is at this point that the pit of discouragement gets darker.
It’s as though He allows us to wallow around in self-pity awhile, and then one day, quiet unexpectedly, He shows up as He did with me the day I received the phone call telling me what my grandbaby’s name would be. Hope leaped up inside of me again and I was filled with a renewed feeling of expectation and desire for certain things that I have prayed for years to happen in the coming months.
In times like these, I am reminded of the journey Abraham took with God for 25 years while waiting for his promised son, Isaac, to be born. I have to believe that Abraham got discouraged and lost hope during the long wait. In fact I am sure it must have been a loss of hope that caused him to commit adultery in order to help God out with His promise of a son. After all, Abraham was a man of faith, right?
But the Bible points to times during this 25 year period that God would show up at different times and renew His covenant with Abraham. I personally believe it was to give him a renewed feeling of hope, along with a high-five proclaiming; “don’t give up; keep on keeping on.” And, as we all know, at the appointed time, Isaac was born and God’s promise to Abraham was fulfilled.
And so I ask you: “Are you struggling with long awaited promises to be manifested?” “Is there a dream down on the inside of you that has lain dormant with the feeling, my time has run out; it is too late for me now to pursue my dreams.”
May the birth of my granddaughter, Hope, cause a new level of faith and hope to leap up inside you as it did me. Give birth to your dream and become all that God created you to be both inside and out.
Big sister Hadley
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.