By Joni Wood
Writing these articles about hope has been one of the hardest assignments I’ve ever tackled. My world fell apart three years ago when my husband (in ministry) admitted to an affair. That resulted in a downward spiral with the loss of his job, our marriage needing a major overhaul, and our lives filled with uncertainty.
A yearlong teaching assignment in China was an uplifting experience, but our return to the states was discouraging. In a difficult economy we had no employment security, and though I tried to walk by faith, the Lord seemed in no hurry to lead us to a bright new future. Peter wrote, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise” (2 Peter 3:9), but it didn’t seem that way to me!
God’s Sense of Humor
In a small group meeting we discussed the encouragement and hope we have in Christ. During the prayer time I confessed the sense of hopelessness gripping my life. I doubted God’s love and goodness and saw little hope for my future. The group prayed for and encouraged me. When I got home I had an e-mail from Shawn McMullen asking me to write these articles on hope. God definitely has a sense of humor! I had admitted that I had no hope an hour earlier and now I was being challenged to testify about my hope in Christ.
Patiently Hope in Truth
Second Peter 3 was a passage of Scripture I hadn’t focused on, but I needed to relearn its truth. Peter described the patient hope holding us together when the world is coming apart. He emphasized, “But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells” (v. 13). When our lives are filled with uncertainty and difficulty, we focus on the security God has promised us at the end of the story. As of this writing I still face uncertainties, but my hope is centered in God’s timing and will. “To him be glory both now and forever! Amen” (v. 18).
Joni Wood is a reading teacher in Raleigh, North Carolina. She and her husband, Mike, are cofounders of Finding Hope Ministry, a ministry of encouragement for troubled marriages. They have two married children and two “grandpuppies.”