Grounded in Hope

Oct. 8, 2021 Chris Brooks

Session Transcript

Chris Brooks: Well, I know what some of you are thinking, How in the world did he get here? How did he make it by security? Well, I don’t want you to feel bad because that’s a question I asked myself as well.

When Nancy called and invited me to come and speak, I said, “I wonder what she’s thinking? Why did she invite me to come and speak to such an awesome group of women?”

And then the thought crossed my mind, Maybe she had called my wife and heard about my extraordinary expertise in the way women think. Then my wife quickly reminded me that was not the case.

I am blessed to be able to have an incredible wife and three strong, smart, brilliant, and beautiful daughters who in their own way have been preparing me for just such an occasion, unknowingly. I am here this weekend to take feverish notes so I can go back and lead them in shock and awe.

But of those three daughters, the one that maybe has trained me the most is my teenage daughter. That’s right. I am the father of a teenage daughter, Miss Zoe Brooks. You guys pray for me if you will.

I absolutely love my daughter. She is, again, strong. She is smart. She is brilliant. She is beautiful, and she is going to homecoming.

Now, nothing prepares a father for some young man who musters up the nerve to come and ask your daughter to homecoming. When he did, my first thought was to invite him to our elders’ meeting. But my wife told me that that was not going to happen.

So tomorrow, I get to go back home and see my beautiful daughter dressed up for her first homecoming. She is just weeks away from being sixteen years old. And with all due respect to the moms out there of a high school son, there is no teenage boy in America that I like right now. Not one of them. Not one of them. So you pray for my heart. Amen?

Then I thought, Well, the truth of the matter is that Nancy probably didn’t invite me because of my expertise in the way women think or even because of my teenage daughter. But she probably invited me because of another child of ours—my son.

My son Chris came into our family at the age of sixteen. We adopted Chris. From the day he walked into our lives, it was extraordinarily clear that he was gifted and creative. He knew how to play instruments from the bass guitar to the keyboard. He loved photography. He even had culinary skills. If you were to try Chris’ chili, you would swear that it should be bottled up and sold at restaurants.

When Chris came into our home, about a week or so into it, I sat down with him and said, “Son, what is it that you want to do when you grow up? What is your goal in life?”

He quickly responded, “Dad, I want to be a teacher. I want to be a teacher,” which would draw my heart some joy because I come from a family of educators.

My father taught at one of the prestigious high schools in Detroit for twenty-seven years. My wife, both of her parents were pretty accomplished teachers, both on the high school level as well as on the college level. So education is something we do in our family.

I told my son that it was going to be hard, but if he worked, I would do everything that I could to help him to accomplish his goal. It was hard. If any of you had to labor with a child who struggled to stay focused and motivated through school, you know what I’m talking about.

I can’t tell you how many times we had to talk to a counselor and negotiate another chance and another opportunity.

I can’t tell you how many times we had to have a “come to Jesus” conversation, and I had to remind him of what his goal was.

I can’t tell you how many times I had to fight for him. And sometimes fighting for him looked like standing against other people. But sometimes fighting for your child looks like you standing against them.

There were many days where we were totally optimistic. And there were many days where the goal seemed totally out of reach, and we were humbled, wondering, God, how in the world are You going to accomplish this?

But by God’s grace, Chris graduated from high school. Praise God! Then he went on to college. Praise God, He is faithful! And Chris accomplished his goal. He became a teacher in an elementary school in Detroit Public Schools. And man, were our hearts bursting with pride!

Now, this is just a parenthetical statement. But I want to start a movement, a petition, that says, “For every diploma and degree, the parents’ names should be written at the bottom along with the child.” Anybody signing that petition with me?

I looked at his diploma, and I said to myself, “Ain’t this something? Like you did this alone!”

Chris was living his dream. Chris was a librarian and also was teaching young kids how to read, literacy. He had the most happening library in Detroit. He got kids so excited by using themes and characters in books that he knew would get them excited about literacy and reading.

I loved to see him not only soar in the classroom but involved in the community, active in mentoring young people because he wanted to give back and to reach young people who had a similar story as his.

We talked often. As a matter of fact, when he moved out into his own apartment, it felt like success. I got a friend of mine who tells me that success in parenting is when your child and you can put your IDs on the table and they have different addresses. That’s the definition of success. So we had achieved success. But yet, we were close, and we talked often. He would call for wisdom and for advice and guidance.

And that’s why it was strange the first week of March 2019 when we had not heard from Chris for about a week. I’d ask my wife, “When was the last time you talked to Chris?” And she said, “About a weekend ago.”

We figured, “Well, he’s just busy,” because Chris does tend to overcommit himself. (I wonder where he got that from?) We prayed for him and continued on with our normal lives.

It was March 4, 2019—some dates you never forget. I was headed out to a leadership conference for my church—it was a retreat that we were going to gather together. I’m about halfway to the retreat center, a two-hour drive or so, about an hour into it, and I get a call from a 313 area code, but a number I don’t recognize.

Now, a 313 area code, for those of you may not know, is a Detroit area code. And normally, I don’t answer phone numbers that I don’t recognize. Anybody with me on that? Right? If you want to talk, leave a message. But this time I was compelled to answer the call, and I did.

I can’t remember all that was said. Honestly, after the first few sentences, my body went numb. But the police officer on the other end of the line said, “Mr. Brooks, I regret to inform you that earlier this week we found your son’s body, and your son is dead. We need you to come to the Medical Examiner’s office to identify his body.”

I couldn’t really comprehend what was being said. So I pressed a little bit further for details, but it was clear that they were describing my son whose body was found in an abandoned building. Ironically enough, an abandoned school building. He was clearly on his way to work, wearing his badge, having his tote bag with the files of his children in there from the classroom that he had been teaching literacy skills to.

I don’t remember everything that happened from there. I just kind of rolled home. If you’ve ever had a moment that just shocked you to the core, put you on the spin cycle of life, there are details that just seemed to fade or maybe were suppressed.

I just remember thinking to myself, How in the world am I going to tell my wife that our son, that her son is dead? How in the world am I going to tell my kids that their big brother isn’t here?

I called my dad, which, praise God for parents. No matter how old you are, you never outgrow the need for them. I called my dad. He is the type of guy who seems to show a sense of poise no matter what the situation. We had been through some difficult valleys before—none quite this severe—but I knew that I could call him. And he, as he always does, settled me.

So I went home, and I told my wife, and I told my children. We cried, and we wailed. I didn’t know whether or not I would make it. I didn’t know whether or not we would make it.

It seemed like the question that we were confronted with, though not audibly, but certainly, though not shared between us, all of us . . . you could see it on our faces, was the question: “Is hope dead? Is hope dead?”

It’s interesting that the theme verse for this gathering that we’re in is Colossians 1, verse 23: 

“If indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast [grounded, if you will], not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.” 

“Not shifting from hope.” I found it very sovereign, if you will, very providential, that Nancy invited me to talk about what it means to be grounded in hope.

And maybe, like me, you can remember a time in your life where you were asking the question, “Is hope dead?” Or maybe tonight you are asking that question, “Is hope dead?” I want you to know two things.

Number one: I want you to know that God is big enough for the question. We don’t have to hide from God with the most important questions of our hearts. He knows our frame. He knows our frailty. He knows that we are mere clay.

And so for us to ask God is the right thing, because only He has the answer.

The second thing I want you to know is that the Bible predicted the questions. Praise God that you’re not the first person. I’m not the first person. We’re not the first generation to ask the question, “Is hope dead?”

First Peter is a book to deal with that question. First Peter is a book written to believers who are suffering—suffering various trials of many kinds. Suffering what it means to live life in the face of a fallen world. Dealing with the question, “Is hope dead?”

Some of you might be tempted to quickly answer the question, far too quick to answer the question. In a day where we have means to inform are theology, so often we give shallow and quick answers to deep and profound questions.

Before you are too quick to respond and say, “Well Chris, of course, hope is not dead,” let me give you some statistics on the matter.

Not only are we living in a day and age where teen suicide is on the rise, anxiety is on the rise, depression is on the rise—not just in total nationally but in every single state in our union this is true. We’re living in a day and age where mental health professionals are absolutely overwhelmed.

A recent Kaiser Family foundation study found that half of Americans have seen a mental health professional over the past year. It also found that 48% of Americans described “feeling down, depressed, and hopeless” within the last twelve months.

So let me ask the question again: Is hope dead?

If you’re looking at the broader culture, you have to admit that despair seems like it’s advancing, that it’s put some points on the board. It seems like the despair is the ethos of the day. Listen to the music. Read the contemporary literature and the nihilism, the sense and thought that, “There is no hope in life,” seems to be prevailing. And we would be fooling ourselves if we thought that this was simply a secular problem.

Recently I ran across an article in The New York Times, by the way, the most broadly produced and read circular publication in the entire world. It was an op-ed piece written on the question of despair and hopelessness.

It’s interesting, because my sense of asking the question, “Is hope dead?” came as a result of a single event. Maybe that’s true for you as well. Maybe it was a divorce. Maybe the loss of a child. Maybe the identification of a terminal illness. Maybe the loss of a parent. I don’t know what your event was, but it does not always come that way.

Sometimes it is a slow encroachment upon the heart. Such was the case for this op-ed piece journalist who wrote this: 

There’s no particular moment when I gave up hope. It’s been a gradual process. Once I did give up, despair sometimes overtook me, and I could not locate myself. Long denial, painful feelings insisted on being heard and noticed. I searched for something, anything, with which to distract myself—a goal, some direction, the promise of a worthy accomplishment, or at least averting amusement—anything to avoid the dissidence between my lifelong propensity toward optimism, and my growing sense of internal despair.

This is where the op-ed piece gets really sad. He says,

Do I have hope now? Well, if hope means the expectation that someone or something is going to save us, then no. I am hopeless.

This describes the state of mind for so many in our hour, and maybe it describes you. In a sea of women that are gathered here tonight, maybe you have had this growing, gnawing sense of despair, hopelessness, wondering, Is life worth living after the losses that I’ve experienced? Wrestling and struggling in your heart, Should I continue on?

Again, I commend you to the Word of God because as believers, we know some questions are too big for us to look within for answers to. This is the doctrine of progressive secularism that we should just simply look within. But where has that gotten us? Only further confused and even more anxious.

No, the gospel doesn’t tell us to look within. It tells us to look up. “From which comes my help?” the psalmist said. “My help comes from the Maker of heaven and earth” (Ps. 121:1–2).

How many know that our God is faithful?

And so Peter gives us this letter, and I just want to spend a few moments looking at the first twelve verses of the first chapter of first Peter. If you could join me there.

Peter writes this letter, and it is an intimate letter. This is no theological treatise. This is no book that was written from an intellectual standpoint, distant somehow from the emotion of the moment. This is an intimate letter written from one man’s heart to the hearts of his friends that he knows are hurting.

He opens the letter by introducing himself and introducing his audience. Both are absolutely riveting. Looking at verses 1–3 together with me. It says:

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:

May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

What phenomenal, poetic, and fantastic words. Like every epistle, Peter opens up by defining who the author is. There’s no confusion about who the author of this epistle is—it is Peter.

You know that Peter, don’t you? Peter, who was courageous, bold enough to stand against a battalion of men who came to capture his Savior.

You know that Peter, who was also a fool foolish enough to rebuke his Savior for saying that He was going to go to the cross.

You know that Peter, that man who could walk on water.

You know that Peter, who was so lacking faith that he denied his Lord three times.

Peter, who saw the resurrected King of kings, Lord of lords.

That Peter, who was a mixed bag.

I’m so glad he wrote this letter. And you know why I’m glad he wrote this letter? Because I am a mixed bag. And, news flash, so are you. We are a mixed bag of phenomenal moments of faith and low moments of doubt. We are all a mixed bag. If you find yourself on the mountaintop of faith one day and down in the depths of despair another, welcome to the world of Peter.

But what God proves over and over again is He knows how to write straight lines with crooked sticks.

What God proves over and over again is He knows how to take mixed bags like you and me, and when His grace is deposited within us, He can do extraordinary things through us according to His grace, goodness, and glory.

Peter wrote this, but he knew who he was. Even on his bad days, he knew he was an apostle of Jesus Christ. Do you know who you are? Well, if you were confused about who you are, like these first-century believers, Peter wants to tell us who we are.

Notice in the first verse, he gives who his audience is. Notice these words: “To the elect exiles of the Dispersion.” And then he names these wonderful cities throughout modern-day Turkey, what would have been known then as Asia Minor.

Oh, ladies, don’t miss the deep Old Testament imagery that is connected to these words: elect exiles of the Dispersion. If ever there was a paradoxical statement, it is “elect exiles.” Two words that are absolutely on the surface opposed to one another, that don’t seem like they go together.

Let’s start with the second word first if we could: exiles. What does it mean to be an exile? It means to be a stranger. It means to be a pilgrim. It means to be displaced.

This is what it is to be a Christian in this world. We are not fully at home in this world. And if you are fully at home in this world, then you may not be His, because if you are His, there’s something about this world that leaves you a little bit unsettled. You’re not going to quite fit in. The ethics of this world won’t match yours. The morals of this world won’t match yours. The longings of this world won’t be the longings of your heart because, after all, you are an exile.

To be an exile, in a very literal sense, meant to be homeless, on the move, nomadic, without voice, and without power. There are times and moments in situations that cause us to feel that way.

We should not be surprised, though, when pain comes into our lives and situations come into our lives that cause us to feel displaced and powerless and voiceless. We should not be surprised because we are not just exiles. We are “elect exiles.”

So let’s deal with the first word—elect. What does that mean? To be elect means to be chosen. Chosen by whom? Chosen by God.

To be elect means to be favored. Favored by whom? The world? No! You’re an exile for the world, but you are favored by God.

To be elect means to be special—special and distinct from all other people of the world. The people of God are elect, chosen to be exiles.

“Now, Chris, I didn’t get that in theology class or Bible study. I didn’t know that to be elect, to be chosen by God meant that I was going to be assigned the task of being in exile.” But that’s what it means. What it means is that you are chosen by God to live as exiles in this world.

Then Peter gets into some pretty deep theology. He says that you were chosen “according to the foreknowledge of God.” Foreknowledge means that He knows all things, from the end to the beginning.

But this is not speaking of cold, scientific facts, ladies. This is speaking of intimate, personal knowledge. Not only does He know everything about you, He knows you. He sees you. And He chose you.

He chose you for glorification? Yes. But He’s also chosen you and me to be exiles in a fallen world:

  • To be special but displaced.
  • To be favored but strangers.
  • To be fully hopeful in this world, but yet weeping.
  • To be dying but yet fully alive.
  • To be broken but yet beautiful.

Isn’t it amazing that in His design, providential wisdom in creation, He created us with such capacity that we can feel dual emotions at the same time? You are not mono-emotional. You can experience weeping and hope at the same time because you are God’s wonderful, magnificent art in creation. He made you fearfully and wonderfully with such capacity that you can be dying on the outside and alive on the inside—elect and exiles.

He said this was “according to His foreknowledge in the sanctification of the Spirit.” Sanctification, meaning “to be consecrated, to be selected, to be set apart for a special assignment.” And what is that special assignment? “For obedience to Jesus Christ.” He selected you, “according to His foreknowledge,” and set you apart so that you can be obedient to Him as an exile in a fallen world full of pain, so that you might show forth the power of His blood to a watching world.

I don’t know what your goals are in life, but maybe I can introduce a new one to you. And this is the goal that none of us want to sign up for, and that is: I want to glorify God even in my suffering.

All of us want to have great days and be wonderful leaders. But who sets as a goal, “God, I want to be at my best when things are at their worst?” But you were chosen for that. You were chosen to go through suffering like somebody who’s elect. Not like somebody who’s not elect.

You were chosen to go through suffering not as someone who lacks hope. But Paul says when we mourn, may we mourn not like those who have no hope because we are a people of hope. We have hope eternal.

Peter then goes into this promise of hope. And what’s strange, from here to the end of the passage, and I’m going to try to move through this as swiftly as I can. You would think, after saying he was in exile and that the ones he was writing to were exiles, that Peter would go into a lament . . . but he doesn’t. He goes into a praise. He begins to praise God for three things, and I think all of these things are instructive to us.

Where does his hope come from? Well, first he praises God that heaven is secure. Look at verses number 3–5 with me, if you will. He says:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope.

There it is! You and I are not just born, because if we were just born, then we would be children of despair. But we have been born again, rescued from despair and birthed into hope. But notice that this hope is not grounded in some shallow optimism. Peter is not writing as a self-help guru. Look at what he says:

Born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Now, if I was at home, I would tell you that’s worth shouting over. Peter just said that our hope is not grounded in memes or shallowness or some mere optimism or some pep talk. But our hope is grounded in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Hope is alive because hope is a person who is alive. Because Jesus has conquered death, we have hope.

He goes on to say, not only that, but we’ve been born again 

. . . into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Here is where hope is found: it is that I have an inheritance in heaven. And why is it kept in heaven? Because you keep all important documents and possessions in special places. God wasn’t going to risk your salvation being stolen, so He kept it in heaven.

We’ve got a safe back at home, and we keep all of our important documents there. God has kept the promise that you will be saved through this, that somehow, some way His salvation is going to be seen. Even when you can’t track Him, ladies, you’ve got to trust Him because He is a Man of His word. He cannot lie. He has kept your salvation in heaven.

But here’s what I love about it: He put a security guard in front of it—a security guard that not even Satan could get through. Who’s the security guard that’s keeping watch over your inheritance? Verse number 5 tells us: 

“Who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

  • God is the security guard over your salvation.
  • God is the one keeping watch over your soul.
  • God is the protector of our promise.

So what do we do when pain encroaches? We remind ourselves of the Word of God, that I’ve been born again to a living hope. And in those days and weeks and months that followed the passing of our son—the deepest pain I have ever known—it was the Word of God that revived my heart. It was the Word of God that revived my hope.

It was me being reminded that He has given me a promise—a promise that He has not failed on, a promise that will bring about my good and His glory, a promise of salvation in this life, in this situation, and in the life to come, guarded by Him.

Peter praised God that heaven is secure. May we praise God that the most important thing in all of the world—our salvation and our relationship with God—would never be stolen away.

Then Peter shifts, and he begins to praise God for something else. Again, paradoxical, but he begins to praise God for our suffering because it reveals our faith. Look at verses 6–9:

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Man do I wish I had three hours more to impact the beauty of what he just said. The first thing that I love about Peter is that he does not sugarcoat trials. The Bible is not a Bible of myth or make believe. It deals with real world stuff. It deals with the pain and the heartache that comes with life.

And what Peter says is that you are going through something now that grieves you, and:

  • It’s all right to admit grief.
  • It’s all right to admit sorrow.
  • It’s all right to cry.
  • Even in the midst of a conference, it’s alright to be in worship and crying out to God, “How long, O Lord?”
  • It’s alright to be honest with Jesus.

Peter is honest and says, “In this season you are grieving.” Why? Because of various trials. But then, as he does throughout this letter, he keeps bringing them back to hope. He acknowledges, “Yes, you are exiles. Yes, you are in a fallen world. But don’t you forget that you are also elect, given a promise kept in heaven, guarded by God. He will not fail you.”

So what is the hope even in trials? It is that “the tested genuineness of your faith” is going to be revealed. And according to Peter, this is “more precious than gold.”

Now, I told you I come from a family of educators. My dad would have me as a young man helping him to grade tests and papers even on the weekend. Can you get that? But my dad used to have a saying: “Son, there are two reasons for every test. There are always and only two reasons for every test. Either, one, to reveal what the student does not know. Or, two, to affirm what the student does know.” Only two reasons for a test.

Peter is saying to us that the trials you are experiencing in this world is not designed to expose your lack of faith but to reveal the genuineness of your faith.

You can say all you want that you love and trust Jesus. But you know when it’s proven? When the trial comes. You can say all you want about how great He is. But you know when it’s proven? It’s when you’re lifting holy hands while tears are streaming down your eyes. You can tell the Lord all you want, “I love you.” But I want to see you do it with a broken heart, with pain in your soul.

Peter believes that concerning those who have put their faith and trust in Christ, that inside of us is something supernatural called “grace” that is energized through faith in Christ that gives us the ability to rise above our present pain to give Him the praise that He is due. It is the genuineness of your faith, and he says that this is more precious, sisters, than gold.

He says that gold will perish, though it’s tested by fire. He says your faith is going to be found “to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

So when Christ returns, there is going to be praise offered to Him by all the world. (Check out Revelation 7:9.) People from every tribe and every language and every tongue are going to be praising Him, giving Him the glory and the honor.

But you know, some of those folks in that sea of people, you know why they’re going to be praising God? Because of the genuineness of your faith. Because they saw you trusting Him in the midst of the trial, and it drew them to faith in Jesus.

You see, Satan thought he won when he put Christ on that cross. But he didn’t know that on that cross, Christ was defeating death, that the cross was the death of death.

Satan thought he won when he sent the devastation and the trial to your life. But don’t you fall for fake news. The fact of the matter is the trial was given so that the world might see the genuineness of our faith, that it is not shallow or surface deep, but it is rooted in the hope of the revelation and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is guarded by God, a promise in heaven that shall be revealed at the day of His return.

I’m going to praise Him now because I know how the story ends—He wins!

And this is why we have to understand the ordinances. This is why we have to understand things like the power of baptism. Because all of those things reveal and speak to us about our union with Christ.

I died with Him, and I rose again with Him. And because He lives, I live. And because He is victorious, I am victorious—not because I am strong, because I am not. But when I am weak, His strength is made perfect.

Peter praises God. Even though he’s in exile, he praises God that heaven is secure. He praises God; the suffering reveals the genuineness of our faith.

Ladies, if you want to know what the focus of your faith is, just examine what you look to in moments of suffering. We’re wired for faith.

  • Some looking for hope have put their hope in things that overpromise and under deliver. 
  • Some have put their hope in philosophies that overpromise and under deliver.
  • Some have put their hope in people that overpromise and under deliver.
  • Some have even fallen into the trap of putting their hopes in politics that overpromise and under deliver.

Economies will fail.
Government will fail.
People will fail.
Mama and Daddy will fail, though they love you.
Husbands will fail.
Children will fail.

But there is One who is faithful from beginning to end—the only One who is worthy of our trust. And that is why Peter says in verse 13 of this chapter that you and I are to “set our hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Not partially. Not faith in Jesus and . . . But faith in Christ alone.

  • Faith in Christ alone is what saves us.
  • Faith in Christ alone is what sustains us.
  • Faith in Christ alone is what revives us.
  • Faith in Christ alone is what keeps us.
  • Faith in Christ alone is what gives us the hope that we need to point the world to Jesus.

In the face of brokenness and pain, Peter closes this poetic stanza, verses 10–12, by praising God that salvation has come. Verse 10 says this:

Concerning this salvation, [the promise of salvation—the three tenses of salvation that I have been saved; I am being saved; and I will be saved—that promise of salvation, he says . . .] the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

Again, I wish I had three hours . . . I’ve got fifty-six seconds. What Peter says is that your God loves you so much that He mobilized prophets to look into Scripture and the Holy Writ, searching for the promise of the Christ who was to come, His sufferings and subsequent glories, and they found this grace.

Their hearts were so excited that they came to realize that they weren’t searching for themselves, but they had been commissioned by God in service to us who live post the cross. Christ has died. He has risen from the grave. He is alive. He is victorious. And since we are in Him, salvation has come to us.

So that means I’m not waiting for a promise. I have a promise. The promise that I have is that He is keeping me. The promise that I have is what the enemy meant for evil, God is going to use for my good and His glory.

I’m not ready to write a book on why my son passed away. Honestly, that’s not something I’ve talked publicly about much. Because of my respect for Nancy, and because of my heart to see the Lord minister to you, I broached the topic, but only for a night. I’ll shed some tears this evening, no doubt, but though I’m weeping on the outside, I am full of hope on the inside.

And you know why I am full of hope? Because I know that my promise, my son’s promise, is secure. You see, my son was a worshipper. And what I know is that he is now in the most glorious worship service any of us have ever seen. Praise God for this gathering, but now, he is in the presence of angels. He is lifting his voice. He is seeing the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Why? Because his promise is secure in the God of hope.

Don’t let the enemy steal your hope, ladies. God is faithful. Let’s pray.

Father, we thank You that in our brokenness we can come to You. We thank You that we can be honest about our grief. Thank You that we can cry to You. We can look to You. But when we do, we thank You that You fill our cups. Some come empty. We simply pray, “Lord, fill us up to overflowing.”

Lord, we trust You because You are the hope of our salvation. And it’s in the mighty, matchless and magnificent name of Your Son and our Savior we pray, in Jesus’ name. And all God’s daughters say, “Amen.” Amen.