Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Even Laboratory Rats Have Hope

I like this acronym for HOPE:

 Holding On, Praying Earnestly.

 “This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls”–Hebrews 6:19(NLT).

Have you ever lost something? Maybe your car keys, a pair of eyeglasses, money, friends or a loved one? Maybe you’re losing your hair or you’ve lost your sense of humor.  Maybe you want to lose weight or maybe you’re trying not to lose your youth. We can lose our patience. We can lose our way and we can lose a sense of who we are.

However, I think the most tragic thing we can lose is hope. It’s hard to cling to hope when the media screams at us with negative news about government shutdowns, school shootings, foreclosed homes and a tanking economy. This news can leave us feeling powerless, inadequate, angry and hopeless. Unless, we know the author of hope, we will remain in this state of fear and hopelessness. As humans, our definition of hope is different from God’s.

Hope is not wishful thinking. We can hope our team wins the Super Bowl. We can hope our grown children make wise choices. We can hope the economy turns around soon.

The biblical definition of hope is not a “hope-so” but a “know-so.”  It’s whom we know. Our hope isn’t found in man, nor government, or even in our own abilities. Our hope is found in our Creator, our Lord and Savior.

Years ago, researchers conducted an experiment to see the effect hope has on those undergoing hardship. Using two sets of laboratory rats, the scientists placed the rodents in separate tubs of water. Researchers left one set of rats in the water and discovered within an hour they had all drowned.

The rats in the other tub were lifted out of the water at regular intervals, and then returned. The scientists discovered that when this happened, the second set of rats swam for over 24 hours. Why? It wasn’t because the rats were given a rest, but because they suddenly had hope.

These animals somehow hoped that if they could stay afloat just a little longer, someone would reach down and save them. If hope has such power for rodents, how much greater should its effect be on our lives?
If you reread the end of the first sentence in the previous paragraph, you just might see the correlation between what the rats were hoping and what we, as Christians, know: “someone would reach down and save them.” Isn’t that what God did when He sent His only Son to die for us on the cross?

Jeremiah 29:11 tells us, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

The Bible is a book of hope, full of God’s promises to His people. I like this acronym for HOPE: Holding On, Praying Earnestly.

These words from evangelist Billy Graham offer hope: “I've read the last page of the Bible. It's all going to turn out all right.”

You can bet on it.

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