As a ministry leader we are asked to play many roles. One of the most common, yet one I can find quite challenging, is being a “Hope Holder.” So often I find myself in conversations with people that are desperate for hope. They need to be reminded and pointed to the One who holds our hope. This should be easy for me, after all I’m a Christ-follower and this hope is the anchor for my soul (Hebrews 6:19). But quite frankly, when I’m in the midst of my own battle and struggling with weariness and stress, having someone else latch onto me looking to be pulled to shore, it feels like enough to sink me.
I have learned that the best way to stay afloat and be able to pull others to shore is to be firmly and confidently buoyed by this hope. One way I’ve found to help me remain confident of His hope is to actively remember His faithfulness to me.
Three habits I have developed to intentionally remember His faithfulness are:
1) Keep a Journal of Remembrance
The Israelites passed down stories of God’s faithfulness verbally from one generation to the next.
“We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done….Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds.” – Psalm 78:4-7
By writing down the real life stories of God’s faithfulness to me and my family, I am documenting them so I can look back and remind myself and those I love about the truth of His ever-present working in our lives.
2) Choose Memorial Stones.
In Joshua 4 the Israelites come to the Promised Land but must first cross the Jordan River. In His faithfulness God once again makes a way by holding back the waters of the Jordan so they can cross over on dry land. Their leader, Joshua, commands one man from each of the 12 tribes to take up a stone on their shoulder to take to the other side. These stones were chosen to serve as a sign to their children in the future. So when their children would see the stones and ask about them the Israelites would be reminded to share the miracle of how they crossed the Jordan River.
“These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.” – Joshua 4:9b
I have chosen significant items that remind me of situations and seasons where God showed up in my journey and was tremendously faithful. I keep them in prominent places in our home or in my office as conversation starters. I want to remind myself and allow the opportunity to share with others these stories of His incredible faithfulness to me!
3) Surround myself with other Hope Holders.
I choose to invest in relationships with a few individuals that can and do testify to the faithfulness of our God. There will most certainly be days and even seasons where I enter a time of frustration, weariness, or even doubt. These individuals are the few who I have intentionally chosen to give access to my inner self, and I invite them to speak into my life. We all need people like this who can hold us accountable, cheer us on, and also pull us to shore when we need it most. They are people who also know the stories behind my memorial stones. So when I need it most, they can remind me of my own story and trace God’s faithfulness in my life.
This life isn’t easy, but we can “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23). I need reminders though. I have to choose to remember so I can continue to hold that hope out to others, even on the tougher days.
What do you do personally to help live out Romans 15:13, “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”?