Has hope ever caught you unaware? In the doldrums of daily living, a person, story or experience enlivened you with hope so you could take another step, make the hard choice, or believe in the unbelievable?

I think of the man who comes before Jesus, certainly after hearing of his vast power to heal, with that tiny kernel of hope that maybe, just maybe, Jesus would heal him. Read Luke 5:12-15. Do you see what happens? Not only is this one healed, but it creates a ripple through the community as others cling to the hope of a better tomorrow.

I know for me, that moment happened in a neighborhood church in Oklahoma City. I was in a bad place…in fact; I was at the lowest place of my life. I hadn’t been to church in years (I was a Christmas/Easter kind) and I was immediately lifted in spirit from the music and the words of grace spoken. But, what got my attention was a simple phrase, “You have hope because of Jesus.” The sermon went on to describe the hope that we carry because God has overcome all things and God’s hope is that we might all find a life marked by abundance. I was hooked. The seed was planted. And it grew, and continues to grow, for this simple statement literally changed my life (heaven knows I didn’t want to be a pastor!)

When hope is planted, the fruit of that tree is endless. Hope has a way of carrying us through the roughest of days and allows us to rejoice in the best of days. Hope is the fuel for reaching the abundant life that Jesus promised!