For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jer. 29:11
A while ago I sat at lunch with someone who was facing a very serious surgical procedure. As this person shared facts related to their upcoming surgery, I could see the anxiety building in their facial expressions and vocal inflections. At one point that anxiety welled up in his eyes and begin to drip down his cheeks into his lunch which he picked at as something to be played with rather than ingested. His fear of the future had captured his attention and had stolen his appetite. For the moment he was consumed with his own mortality and seemingly had no answers upon which he could lean.
During our conversation I began to share my own story of various times I had faced what he was now facing. I, too, knew the uncertainty of facing a surgeon’s scalpel and the prospect of life not continuing to be what it had been before. I shared my own anxieties and apprehensions about tomorrow being drastically different post-surgery. I could see him becoming somewhat relaxed just in knowing that someone had walked this road before and had somehow survived.
The difference between us is that I could also share where I had been able to find courage, strength, and hope—all of which this gentleman had been seeking yet not quite finding.
The scripture above from the prophet Jeremiah is just one of several that rolled off my tongue as I reflected on the hope and security I had found in Jesus. I was able to share how through the years I had discovered God’s Word to be completely reliable and trustworthy. Perhaps the strongest evidence came in the fact that I could say unequivocally: “God has kept every promise”!
Learning to trust is more difficult for some than others due to a variety of factors which cannot be addressed in this brief format. The point I’m emphasizing is that others can find encouragement and hope if we’re willing just to share our own story. Each of us has a story of where we’ve found God to be trustworthy and reliable. As followers of Jesus, each of us has passed through trials and difficulties where fear loomed large and threatened our ‘tomorrow’ but we knew where to find hope.
There are persons all around us seeking ‘hope’ and the prospect of having a better tomorrow. They’re just waiting for someone to share their story with them and point them in the direction of hope.
Can you see them? Will you see them? Will you take a risk and share your source of hope in Christ? Someone is waiting to hear your story!