Keith Wishum: Ready for a change in the weather?
It was a gorgeous August Saturday. Everything was perfect. Not a cloud in the sky, and it was his birthday! But that was just part of the reason for his sunny smile. After the party, his family was off for a special vacation; they were going to the mountains. The mountains!
At six, he wasn’t really sure what a mountain was, or where they were. But he could tell from the way his parents talked about them that this would be a fascinating trip. He was ready.
But he wasn’t ready for what came next. Just after blowing out the candles, the big blow came. Dad couldn’t go.
He had been called back to work. The vacation was cancelled. Tears poured from the little guy’s eyes like a summer, gully-washer storm. Cake and presents, which would have brightened any other birthday, offered no consolation.
Minutes later, however, the weather changed again dramatically. Dad returned to announce that the trip was back on; he didn’t have to work after all! The son came out of the clouds, his grin brighter than ever.
Three different moods in less than one hour — from giddy excitement to dark disappointment and back to joy again. What made the difference? The only thing that changed was hope.
The trip still had not happened. But now it was anticipated again. During the tears, the birthday and presents were all still there, but the hope of something greater had vanished. What a difference hope makes! What a change in our mood if we have something to which we may look forward.
The apostle Paul knew the importance of hope. “I press on,” he wrote, “toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). It was his hope that allowed him to be happy regardless of his circumstances. Parked in prison, wondering if he would be executed, he could speak of his joy — joy that hinged on hope.
Paul knew where he was going. He might not have known exactly what heaven would be like, or where it was, but he had personally met the risen Jesus who offered him the prize. Knowing that heaven was waiting made it possible for him to be happy in every circumstance.
That same hope can produce a sunny outlook for us, too. How’s the weather at your house today?
At the heart of Christian hope is the resurrection of Jesus. If even death cannot defeat us, there is always hope. Join us Sunday as we talk about how hope helps us cope. Church is at 10:30 a.m.
Keith Wishum is minister, Williams Road Church of Christ, Americus.