I am expecting my Dad’s passing any time.  These days I like to think that my Mom’s last (and greatest) gift was graciously allowing me to learn from my mistakes over her illness and death (two years ago this month) how to walk with Dad in his illness, and pending death.  (Thanks Mom.)

Mom’s death taught me about hope in the most tangible way possible.  My favorite Gospel writer, John, wrote about the assurance he wished his readers to have in their own eternal salvation.  In John 20:31 he stated, “These [things] are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, you may have life in his name.”  Similarly, in 1 John 5:13, he wrote, ” These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.”

John wanted me to know, as surely as the sun rises, that I have eternal life in Christ.  I wish I had that kind of concrete faith, but instead I have a steadfast hope in God, and I trust completely that my hope is not displaced and will not be dashed.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. This
hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast….  — Hebrews 11:1, 6:19

Hope is powerful.  It can carry us through the darkest nights into the promise of a new reality.  Hope, indeed, keeps my soul anchored in a God I can’t engage with using my physical senses.  For me, where faith fails, hope rises.  And it is hope in God and the truth portrayed in the holy Scriptures that breath life into my continuing walk of faith.

No where is hope more needed than in the loss of a loved one.  When I think of my Mom’s passage from this life to the next, I have hope (because of her faith in Christ) that I will see her again.  I discussed this with Dad once, but he only scoffed.  “How do you know?” he asked.  “I don’t,” I replied.  I have not yet learned John’s lesson.  But, I went on, I do know I will stand before the Supreme One some day, and will say with great conviction that I have placed all of my hope in Christ.  “Can you do the same, in what you believe?”  My Dad, a life-long atheist, had no answer.  I hope he has one more opportunity to rethink his position.

I hope.

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