Are you a hopeful person? When you think about your future do you see sunshine or gloomy weather? Is your glass of expectation brimming over or bone dry? These days with so much discouraging economic news: rising unemployment, skyrocketing national debt and a housing market that keeps searching for its bottom, more of us are finding it difficult to hold on to our hope.

It can be very challenging to find hope in discouraging and negative circumstances, and the more they pile up, the dimmer our hope often becomes. How hopeful would you be if you were abused and held in captivity for 18 years beginning when you were just a child?

We can all remember news coverage of the shocking discovery of a young woman, Jaycee Dugard, who was held prisoner in a soundproof building in the backyard of Philip and Nancy Garrido. Abducted with a stun gun while walking to her school bus stop when she was only 11, Jaycee was subjected to repeated rape, sexual and verbal abuse, and psychological manipulation by her captors for the next 18 years. During that time she gave birth to two daughters, fathered by her rapist, Philip Garrido.

What allowed her to live through these incredible events and maintain her sanity, especially when she was so young? In her book “A Stolen Life,” Jaycee states that remembering her mother’s love kept a spark of hope alive in her that allowed her to believe in her future.

She had one object from her mother, a tiny butterfly ring she managed to keep hidden. It became a concrete link that helped her focus on that maternal love. And she recorded her dreams of a better future in a secret journal.

She states, “I refused to let any cloud extinguish my heart of hope.” She repeatedly chose to maintain her hope, and that choice kept her alive. Hope is not wishing for something. It is much more substantial than that. Hope is confident expectation about what is unseen and in the future. It is happy anticipation that future good awaits us.

God knows that life will present us with disappointment and tough times. He understands that hope cannot be put off continuously. He says in Proverbs 13:12 that hope deferred makes the heart grow sick, and a sick heart keeps us from enjoying our life. He knows that we must have something to connect our hope to if it is to survive hard times. He offers us the promise of abundant life if we will put our trust in Him. This blessing God promises us becomes an anchor of hope for our soul. (Hebrews 6:19)

In light of His promised blessing, the apostle Paul wrote: “May God, the source of hope, fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

To help us remember His promised blessing, God appoints pastors in the Church who are gifted with true compassion for others. They listen, encourage, and follow-up with us as we grow in our trust with God. They help protect and inspire our hope. I pray you will decide to trust in God, let Him bless you, and find a good church with caring pastors who can help your hope thrive!

Come join us this Sunday at 9:00 AM or 11:00 AM. Our own Pastor Karl Malouff will explain more about the encouraging role of the office of pastor.

Ché Ahn and his wife, Sue, are the Founding Pastors of HRock Church in Pasadena, California. Ché serves as the Founder and President of Harvest International Ministry (HIM) and the International Chancellor of Wagner Leadership Institute (WLI). With a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary, he has played a key role in many strategic outreaches on local, national and international levels. He has written more than a dozen books and travels extensively throughout the world, bringing apostolic insight with an impartation of renewal, healing and evangelism.