Hope

Our family celebrated July 4th at the lake with friends. While there we received horrific news that a twelve year girl was killed in a boating accident in the cove next to us. Last week one of our church members unexpectedly died and left behind a wife and three girls. Yesterday my friends, a married couple, both lost their jobs on the same day. People all around us are hurting and they’re hungry for hope.

Years ago I attended a Bible study where the teacher was emphasizing the importance of God’s Word. He explained how the Bible is the inspired, inerrant and living Word of God. He stressed the importance of reading the Bible in context rather than skipping around reading one or two obscure verses here and there. He challenged us to read an entire chapter to see what God was teaching there. Or to read an entire book in the Bible, then step back and see what the theme for that book was.

That night, when at home, I heeded the teacher’s advice. I flipped open my Bible and it landed on Mark chapter five. I read the entire chapter. Sometimes portions of the Bible have several wise sayings, a story or precepts and principles. I quickly noticed in this chapter, however, that there are only three stories. The story of a demon possessed man, a sick woman, and a young girl who had died. In the story of the demon possessed man it says, “For he had often been chained hand and foot but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet” (Mark 5:4). No one was strong enough to subdue him. This was a serious problem. The townspeople did all they could with their resources but to no avail. Jesus arrived on the scene and saved the day.

The second story is about a sick woman. In vv. 25-26 it says, “And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for 12 years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.” How discouraging. Here was a woman with a health concern that she had suffered with for 12 long years, day in and day out. She was desperate to get relief. She obviously got referrals, went to many doctors and spent all her money in the process. If she at least felt the same after her odyssey she would have at least broken even. But she felt worse, adding insult to injury. Then she heard about Jesus, sought him out, touched the hem of his garment, and was completely healed!

Next there was a young girl who had died. Surely this would be the time to give up hope, except nothing is impossible with God. Jesus raised her from the dead!

Three stories of hopelessness. Someone trapped by demonic power is very serious. It affected the entire village. They did all they knew to do but without success – until Jesus arrived! Same with the sick lady. No hope. In fact, as hard as she tried, her situation went from bad to worse – until Jesus arrived! Then she experienced a breakthrough. We imagine how much pain and suffering engulfed the family whose daughter died. But Jesus provided hope and healing.

The message in the fifth chapter of Mark is clear to me. Three stories where people seemingly had no hope. Three situations completely out of control. They exhausted every avenue humanly possible but without remedy. The hero in the story is Jesus! It’s not over until God says it’s over. He gets the last word. He has the last say. Maybe you think your marriage is over or you’ve experienced a financial reversal. Perhaps you’re struggling with a health concern or you are grieving the death of a loved one. God offers hope through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. As bleak as things may look I’m convinced that God gave us an entire chapter in the Bible to trumpet the good news that even when it seems helpless and hopeless, Jesus can help. Our family personally has experienced tragedy in the past. God has helped and sustained us throughout our difficulties. Jesus is the hero of our story. We have sensed his presence throughout our journey and if you will allow him, he will help you and give you hope. Jesus can be the hero of your story! Many of our co-workers, family, friends, and listeners who are hurting, aren’t just in need of hope, they’re desperate for hope. I’m so thankful to be in an industry where we are privileged to point people to Jesus who not only knows the way but is the Way and the Truth and the Life. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Rom 15:13

JJ Jasper
Morning Show Co-Host, American Family Radio
jjjasper@afr.net

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