A Hope Dispenser - Reflections 2-2017

A Reflection for February 2017 by Richard Parrish


"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful."
 Hebrews 10:23-24 (ESV) [1]



Most Tuesday evenings I find myself at a local restaurant. My wife has a weekly rehearsal in our home with a women’s trio she sings with, called CHIRP. I love to hear them sing, but sometimes their rehearsals can become quite repetitious as they repeat a chorus or few bars of a song to make sure the harmonies are “spot on.”


Tuesday evening has become my time to order a meal, enjoy a sporting event on the big screen, and chat with some of the local patrons. I had just ordered my meal at the counter when a young woman asked me: “What do you do?” Without hesitation, I said: “I help people discover HOPE.” My response was all it took.


For the next 30 minutes, she shared with me areas where she longed to discover hope. Her parting words were: “I don’t usually stop here for dinner. I know this was not a coincidence. After talking with you, I feel more hopeful.”


I’ve not seen her since that Tuesday evening. However, I’ve prayed for her regularly since that brief encounter. That short conversation helped remind me of how important it is to encourage others to remain hopeful.


Everyone needs hope! Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote: “To live without hope is to cease to live.”  And, maintaining hope requires an intentional, on-going discipline to guard confidence.  


My conversations with the other customers on Tuesday evenings remind me that life frequently crushes our hope. And, being hopeful does not happen automatically. Many struggle with life. They’re concerned about the future. They’re disappointed with the lack of integrity in leadership, worried about the devaluation of the dollar, unemployment and the increasing threat of terrorism. But these expressions are not limited to the Tuesday evening clientele at my favorite restaurant.


Many of my Christian friends wrestle with anxieties: “Our church is declining, and we don’t know what to do to get new families to attend.” “Why are my prayers not answered?” “How long will I have to suffer?”  “How are we to live as an example of Christ when we face growing opposition to our faith, etc.?”


It doesn’t matter whether we are employed, unemployed, wealthy, impoverished, healthy, afflicted, Christian or non-Christian. Without hope, we cease to live fully and to experience life abundantly.


It’s easy for hope to be misdirected. We love to recall stories where, in a catastrophic moment and at the last minute, a shining knight arrives on a white horse to save the damsel in distress. We long for someone to show up in the nick-of-time to rescue us from our dilemma.


We want a person that can cross aisles and mend bridges. We pray that a new treatment will be discovered to cure the incurable. We trust that the next lottery ticket we purchase will be the winning one, and our financial challenges will be over! However: People, new treatments, or winning lottery tickets are not the source of our hope!


The Psalmist knows that to place our hope in any source other than God is futile. Even the most powerful, wise, shrewd, or successful individuals are incapable of guaranteeing our salvation (Ps. 33:17-22).


The author of Hebrews understands the importance of maintaining confident access to God, especially in unpredictable and unreliable times. It’s easy to lose sight of God’s faithfulness when life is so unsettling.


Because we live in tenuous times, and because corruption, violence, greed, and arrogance confront us on every side: It is increasingly necessary that we “…hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering.”  Moreover, we can confidently cling to that hope because God is faithful!


Equally, it is critical for us to motivate each other to love and do good works (Heb. 10:24). The young woman I met on that Tuesday evening reminded me: Each of us will benefit by having our hope re-directed to its right source.


Despite the challenges we face: Hope is still the ingredient that inspires us to see possibility when all seems impossible. Hope is the seed that refuses to die, even when the ground is parched and barren. Hope is the coal – still hot with potential fire and new possibilities.


I hope you will join me in dispensing some hope to those around us. Sometimes we all need to have our hope redirected to the right source.

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Heb 10:23–24.



●     What is it that you hope for?  What crushes your hope?
●     Where are you looking for hope?
●     Who do you know that could use some hope?
●     How might you be able to encourage and inspire their confidence?
●     How does (or can) your response to negative messages redirect others to the source of