When Hope Died
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” 1 Peter 3:15
As I sat on the floor of the vet clinic exam room with the ministry’s three dogs recently diagnosed with cancer, knowing in my heart it was time to say goodbye to sweet, loving Hope whom I had had for years since she was brought into a shelter from an emergency clinic where she had been dropped off to surgically remove an embedded collar, and where she would most likely have been euthanized, my extreme sadness had the most unlikely companion. Hope. Not my sweet dog Hope who had extremely aggressive spleen cancer and had collapsed only hours before in massive distress and because of which I was now at the vet’s office saying my goodbye. But because my heart was filled with HOPE.
Though 1 Peter 3:15 teaches believers in Christ who suffer from being mistreated by wrongdoers because we are doing right in Christ should be happy and ready to explain our hope in Christ, the verse’s use of the words “always” and “every man” make it clear being ready to explain our hope in Christ is NOT limited to this scenario of suffering. We must be ready to explain our hope ALWAYS to EVERYONE. There I was, with my dog dying of cancer, telling the vet clinic staff that despite my sadness, I was filled with the HOPE of Christ. For decades, I had been on a roller-coaster of hope. Worldly, human hope. Hope that rose when life went well, and hope that crashed and died each time I suffered a disappointment or loss.
Now I am filled with hope every single day no matter my circumstances. Some speak of the hope of heaven promised to those who believe in and follow Christ. My hope in Christ is not merely about eternity with God in heaven. My hope is about the breathtakingly amazing intimate relationship with God I have every day of my life through Christ and resulting from a life totally devoted to God and His ways.
Watching my dog Hope die when the vet gave her an injection to help her die was devastating. But the hope in my heart does not die. For the hope I have now is eternal; it’s my hope in Jesus the Christ.
If your hope is in people, places, and things, in anything or anyone in this world, your hope will come and go. Place your hope in the Lord who is forever!