Acts 16:19 When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market-place to face the authorities.
There are good hopes and there are bad hopes, but people react poorly to having their hopes dashed in any case. These men didn’t care about the well-being of the slave girl at all; to them she was strictly a tool for making money. Accordingly, her being delivered from demonic possession wasn’t good news to them at all. It’s easy for us to see how they were in the wrong, but it’s much harder for us to recognize when we decide we want or even need something in complete disregard for God’s plans for us. People buy lottery tickets hoping to strike it rich, never thinking about how few lottery winners are really blessed by having won. There are some who deal with the influx of money well, but the majority effectively buy themselves misery, and it’s very sad. It’s not uncommon for someone to fix their hopes on marrying a certain person, and are either devastated when it doesn’t happen or discover they’ve made a horrible mistake when it does. Leaving God out of the equation never works out well in the end! As the saying goes, hope springs eternal, but the path to real success and happiness is to receive the hopes God has for you, because they are always good and they will never be disappointed.
I’ve had some twisted hopes over the years, and I’m grateful that God didn’t grant them! I’ve also had some hopes that were from Him, and He has granted them in abundance. I certainly have the hope of eternal life and feel assured that I have already entered into that, though not yet in fullness. As a pastor, particularly one in a largely non-Christian nation like Japan, I desire to communicate that hope to as many people as possible. Every time I attend a Buddhist funeral I am struck by how hopeless it is. They try to cover that up by rituals, but such rituals give no real hope. People are amazed that my wife and I are so upbeat in the face of all her medical problems (though they do occasionally get us down) but the thing is, our hope is not in doctors or even in this life, it is in our eternal Lord. I earnestly desire that she have a minimum of suffering and that I have her with me as long as I am on this earth, but such hopes are entirely secondary to our eternal hope in Christ Jesus.
Father, thank You for yesterday, with the MRI and essentially scheduling brain surgery. Thank You that we’ll be able to attend a lecture today on a potential future treatment for Parkinson’s Disease. Thank You that we’ll have a conference on Tuesday about potential back surgery. Thank You for all the excellent medical facilities that are available to us. Much more than that, thank You that we are not dependent on medicine, or on man at all, but on You, and that Your grace is sufficient for us. (2 Corinthians 12:9) Help us rest, relax, and rejoice in You, whatever is going on in or around us, so that we may represent You accurately to all who see us, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!