After an overview of how to define hope, I asked the students to recall a time when somebody had given them a message of hope during a troubling time. As I waited for the students to come up with answers, I started thinking about how I would answer that question. So I decided to share the following story with the class.
Almost two months before my son’s due date, my wife was rushed in an ambulance to a hospital with a neonatal intensive care unit in the middle of the night. We were both panicking beyond belief. We had no idea what would happen to this baby of ours. We didn’t even know what was going on with my wife. At times, it felt incredibly hopeless. It was easily the most scared we have ever been.
When we arrived at the hospital, our pastor and Sunday school teacher were there. While my wife thought that meant she was dying, it was very comforting to have their support. We had friends show up and wait all night with us to see if we would be meeting our baby that night. They were fantastic.
As it turned out, things were not as urgent as they seemed. But they were still not good. We stayed in the hospital for three more weeks waiting to see what would go wrong next and praying for a miracle so we could go home.
During that time, we had dozens of visitors. Pretty much everybody we knew from our church, and many folks we didn’t, stopped in to wish us well and pray for us. Our friends showered us with gifts to make our hospital room feel more like home. Our family kept us well fed and took great care of our dog.
To be perfectly honest with you, I can’t remember a single word that was said by anyone during that time. There were no inspiring speeches or life changing conversations. But just by showing up, we were given hope that we did not know existed. When things looked grim, we felt like things would never be the same again. But with all of the love we were shown through the presence of our friends and loved ones, we were reminded that God is greater than any dire situation. We are loved by God and His people were sent to help us remember that. And we knew that, no matter what, He would take care of us in a way far better than any of us could ever imagine.
In case you were wondering, it all worked out like this:
You don’t have to say all of the right things or even say anything at all. Your love is made known through just being there. Your willingness to show up gives hope to those that need it. You have the ability to show others who Christ is just by being present.
Seems easy enough, doesn't it? Let's make it happen.