The Search for HOPE

(Originally written and distributed during a previous Christmas season.)

My brother, Kirk, stood in the semi-darkness of that early morning in May, 1999, looking in shocked awe at the devastation left by a class five tornado. The largest tornado in the history of the United States had swept through our metropolitan area the previous evening. As the Mayor of Oklahoma City, Kirk was interviewed by several members of the national media, including a national magazine writer who interviewed him in his office. This writer asked Kirk how the people of our city were doing, considering that we had suffered through the Murrah Building bombing in 1995 and now were hit by this catastrophe. Kirk replied, “I think that we are in the HOPE stage. You know that tribulation produces perseverance, which creates character, which results in HOPE.” The reporter said, “Wow! That is fantastic. Where did you get that?” Kirk told her that it was from Romans 5 in the Bible. She quickly changed the subject. The reality is that when we face the difficult circumstances of life, we must find a source of HOPE.

This year, 2011, has certainly brought us many opportunities to search for HOPE. On the political scene, this has been a year of unrest, particularly in the Middle East. Egypt’s Mubarak resigned after weeks of public protests. Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi was forced from office and killed. There have been massive demonstrations across the region from Syria to Yemen. Even Al Qaeda’s Osama Bin Laden was finally found and assassinated.

The world of nature had a cataclysmic year as well. We were shocked by the earthquake in Japan and the resulting tsunami and nuclear disaster that followed. Volcanoes in Chili and the recent earthquake in Turkey brought suffering to other regions of the world. In the U.S., we had unusual flooding in the Midwest and Northeast, and huge wild fires shot across the Southwest, making worse an already far-extended drought. Just a week after I was in Joplin, Missouri, they were rocked by one of the most destructive tornadoes in recent memory. And if all of this was not enough, the growing global economic crisis including the continued housing recession, multiple national debt problems, and persistent high unemployment, caused everyone to be discouraged. Where can we find HOPE in the midst of all of these challenges?

Two thousand years ago, in similar trying times, the God of the universe sent His Son in the form of a helpless baby. The powerful creator of this world was born in an obscure village and His birth was proclaimed by a group of lowly shepherds. At that time, the Jewish people were being ruled by an outside Roman authority. The current religious leaders were looking for a Messiah who would come as a reigning king, not a baby who would have a normal childhood and remain out of the limelight for thirty years. Jesus died on a cross outside of Jerusalem and stunned the authorities and His followers by His resurrection three days later. In the midst of sickness, poverty, pain, and death, Jesus brought love, peace, and HOPE. He brought HOPE both on an eternal scale, and on a daily scale. He gave HOPE to the widow, the orphan, the poor, the foreigner, and the children. That is why His apostle Paul was able to write years later, “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed… That is why we never give up…our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. …So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen… (Which) will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:8, 9, 16-18 (NLT). The message of Christmas is that in the midst of a world full of difficulties, Jesus Christ is our only source of HOPE.

May you experience His HOPE,
Kent and Davidene Humphreys

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About kenthumphreys
Kent Humphreys has been a business leader for over forty years. He also served as CEO of FCCI/Christ@Work for six years and now serves as their worldwide ambassador, speaking, writing, and mentoring young leaders. He continues to be active in distribution, private equities, and real estate. Kent and his wife Davidene have written six books together. They have three children and eight grand-children.

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