Hold on to Hope

Brenda Cannon HenleyBy Brenda Cannon Henley
Of all the many things we hold and harbor in our lives, one of the main blessings we need there is hope. Long a favorite verse of mine is Hebrews 6:19. “Our hope is as an anchor, both sure and steadfast.” I love the verse because of its nautical reference, but also because of its positive promise to believers. In this old world today, each of us needs a good strong dose of hope. Something good to look forward to, a plan or dream being fulfilled, and the agreement that our lives will be blessed and that they are not being lived in vain, are all bound up in hope.

I personally have had occasion to visit loved ones in nursing homes or care centers for the past five years more than I ever have in my years of ministry. Folks, people confined in these centers for long periods of time need one thing more than any other, outside of care for their medical condition, injury, or infirmment. They need hope in their hearts.

Directors and staff know the residents that seldom, or in many cases, never, have visitors. They recognize the heart hurt that often comes when a neighbor resident has company, receives mail, gets a gift, or has their room door decorated for a changing season.

The glow of hope has faded from the eyes of some of the most lonely living out their years in the confines of a nursing home.

Dan Wilkes, of Texas, visits his beloved sister, Mary Breshears, in her care center in Mississippi.

There are a lot of jokes circulating about the son or daughter being the one to choose the parent’s nursing home for them, but in reality it is often not funny and a difficult decision and duty to fulfill.

And lest I be misunderstood, let me quickly add that I am grateful for the good care centers, assisted living communities, and nursing homes in which I have visited. Many centers provide better care and offer a more pleasant environment than home ever did. The residents eat better, get better medical care, have more interaction with others, and in general, live better lives.

If local churches wanted real ministry, they would spend time in evaluating these various centers, decide where they could best be involved, and train and send teams in to visit, encourage, and help provide that often missing element of hope. A hopeful person is a happier and usually more healthy person.

Who can we offer hope to today? Does our next door or across the street neighbor need hope? How about our own family members? Do any of them live alone or have needs in their lives that we could help to meet? Are there children in our lives that need encouragement?

What about members of our immediate families? Folks can be good actors and learn to cover their sadness and heartache.

I have learned that where hope exists, no night can be completely dark, no loneliness is without comfort, and no fear will be overwhelming.

Hope is God’s omnipotence. It is faith that fills a heart with joy even when you feel it is on the verge of breaking.

The above two paragraphs, somewhat paraphrased, were sent to me this week and they could not have come at a better time. I had just returned to Florida from a two and a half week trip to Mississippi and my beloved Texas, where I was surrounded by friends and family, involved in projects, and well loved. I was feeling a little lonely and sad, and I lost sight of my hope for a day or two.

God reminded me that my hope is in him and not in this world, and that it is my anchor in times of cloudiness and storms.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at 409 781 8788, or
[email protected]

[originally posted 9-30-2019]
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