#12--Choose Hope (From THE BIBLE: 50 Ways it Can Change Your Life)
Christopher D. Hudson
Jesus was in Perea when he received word that Lazarus, one of his close friends, was sick. (Lazarus was the brother of Mary and Martha, two of Jesus’ most devoted followers.) Rather than rush to Bethany to be with Lazarus, Jesus tarried in Perea for two more days. And then he began his journey.
By the time Jesus arrived in Bethany, Lazarus was dead. His body had been in the tomb for four days. Mary and Martha were understandably beside themselves with grief.
“Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ . . . Jesus then said, ‘I am the one who raises the dead to life! Everyone who has faith in me will live, even if they die’ ” (John 11:21, 25).
Jesus knew he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, but Mary and Martha didn’t. Their grief was real. Their emotions were raw. Jesus wasn’t upset by their reaction—he’d cried too—but he wanted to help them through their pain to get to something better: hope.
That journey from devastation to hope can be plotted by boiling Jesus’ words down to these three words: Believe in me.
Don’t give grief and pain the final word. Believe in me.
Don’t let your world come crashing down around you. Believe in me.
Don’t give up. Believe in me.
All it takes is one tragedy—one unexpected loss—to drive home the point that we are practically powerless to control or prevent the things that happen to us. The one area we can control, however, is how we will respond. We can choose devastation and surrender—or we can choose hope and perseverance.
To choose hope and perseverance is not to brush aside our grief. It is to address our pain head-on and to work through our feelings (with the assistance of a professional counselor, if necessary). To choose hope is to believe that happiness and joy are attainable again, despite what our grief tells us.
To choose hope is to take Jesus at his word when he says, Believe in me. I am more powerful than your pain. I will carry you through. I will heal your heart.
The above article is from THE BIBLE: 50 WAYS IT CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE. This special edition magazine is available for sale at Walgreens, Wal-Mart, Target, Barnes and Noble, and wherever newspapers are sold.