I am a huge American Idol fan. I remember cheering on winners like Kelly Clarkson (season 1), Carrie Underwood (season 4), and Taylor Hicks (season 5). Each season I was disappointed when my favorites in the top ten were voted off. These included talented finalists: Chris Sligh, Chris Daughtry, and Danny Gokey. Since American Idol provided national exposure, it’s no wonder these three soloists went on to their own recording careers. In season eight, third-place finalist Danny Gokey worked his way into my heart because of our shared membership in “the crappiest club” of widowhood. That’s right, it was only a month before Danny Gokey was to audition for American Idol that the unthinkable happened: His beloved wife passed away. Danny Gokey chose to fulfill what had been his dream supported by his dear wife. After making it into the top three, Danny Gokey went on to sign several music contracts. In 2011, Danny Gokey chose to focus on making Christian music. And I am so glad he did.
You can imagine my excitement and anticipation when I heard Danny Gokey would be in Bakersfield in concert at my church Canyon Hills Assembly of God, and to make things even better, he would be fundraising for The Mission at Kern County. So last night he sang “Hope In Front of Me.”
God gave me a gift. I’ve been focusing, praying, and preparing since I am speaking about hope tomorrow night for Rosedale Bible Church’s women’s ministries’ dinner. I have been literally marinating myself in my favorite verse of hope. Here is one of my top favorites: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit,” (Romans 15:13).
I am a visual person. I love this illustration of how hope works. Imagine a humongous ship journeying across one of the deeper parts of the ocean. Over the radio, the captain hears the announcer bark warnings of forecasted tumultuous storms at sea. Rather than take a risk in the difficult storm, the captain may choose to drop the vessel’s immense 25-ton anchor, and when it does the expansive craft is not only stopped in place, it is secured by the massive piece of iron. When strong and wild waves hit the boat, the rough waters won’t tip it over, it is safe and secure because the anchor has held it fast to the bottom of the sea.
Hope keeps the eternal part of us safe and secure in the storms of life. Our hope must be solidly in Christ, vibrantly connected to Him; we can endure and we are secure even in life’s fiercest storms. Hebrews 6:19 says “We who are holding on to the hope of God’s salvation promises have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”
So you and I have a choice. We can attempt to navigate through the storms on or own, or we can drop anchor before the storm and hold on to the living hope in Jesus Christ. When I had cancer, I held onto His word by studying the names of God. When I was planning to remarry, I held onto His word by studying the truth of my identity in Christ. Whatever you are facing, when you choose to hold onto the promises of God, He will enable you to stay afloat, stand firm, and tell others of the faithfulness of God. Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” What black storm clouds seem to be gathering over your life today?
Heavenly Father, thank you for your promises. Thank you for renewing our hope. Thank you for the assurance that this peace you give us is the real thing, not just wishful thinking. Thank you for the hope you give that is the foundation for the joy and peace we find in you. We praise you and thank you today. In Jesus’ name, amen.