October 18, 2012
Several years ago at Disney World, the globally-acclaimed happiest place on Earth, I witnessed an amazing phenomenon, a true miracle. At the time I was watching a five-year-old boy. It was late afternoon on a typically hot and muggy Florida summer day. There were long lines everywhere, lots of stimulation, many choices, and some letdowns. This little guy was probably off schedule, hungry, and tired from staying up late at night. Well, this kid started having a meltdown – the granddaddy-of-them-all-with-a-cherry-on-top, meltdown (not my kid of course).
Then the most astounding miracle occurred. His parents said these magical words, “If you are good and can quiet down, you can have an ice cream and go swimming after dinner.”
It was like an exorcism had been performed. The powerful evil forces that seemed to have such a firm grip on him, dramatically retreated … after squaring off with the all-powerful ice cream sundae! Almost instantaneously, he was back to being a normal, happy, well-behaved Magic Kingdom kid. Why? No medication was given, no punishment was doled out, no psychological skills were expertly taught. How could this immediate transformation occur? The answer: He had hope.
Hope is an enormously powerful emotional state. Expectation, trust, wishes, optimism, anticipation, and confident desire are potent influential dimensions of hope. You experience the same phenomena. Even when you are overwhelmed or filled with negativity and it seems like you have no control, you really do. At those times, you need to refocus on the hope you have in Christ. Then apply this hope and viewpoint to your stressful situation.
What makes hope most powerful is the belief that you will get what you hope for. Hope can lift your perspective from weary feet to glorious views of the high road … the road to heaven – way better than ice cream! How do you live your life? What’s your daily attitude, the lens you use to view life, your outlook for your future? Do your heart and daily actions display the ultimate hope that is powerfully alive in you? Or are you having a tantrum because hope has being sucked from your lenses, or seems distant and out of reach?
Today, focus on this radiant destination with Confident Desire: the Mind of Christ with the Fruit of the Spirit on this Earth and eternity in heaven. This hope is real! When you do focus on this hope, the road ahead is do-able and whether it’s rough or smooth is insignificant. Like the boy at Disney who focused on the destination, it will be easy for you to handle the disruptions of the day. Whatever today’s obstacle is, attack it with the encompassing knowledge that you are getting double desserts … the Holy Spirit in this life, and eternity spent in the personal presence of God. Whether you let real hope clean your lenses is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father, I know that hope is a golden cord that connects me to heaven. I feel as if my head is slumped and my feet are shuffling. Help me, Father. Help me to have this cord hold my head high … even in the midst of the storms I am experiencing. Help me, Father, to hold in my heart a dual focus: Your continual Presence and the hope of heaven. These things I ask boldly, through the hope that is in Christ Jesus for all of us, and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; Romans 12:12
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God,
who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; Psalm 146:5-6