“When you wish upon a star, Makes no difference who you are…la, la, la, la.” Ever since 1940 this song has put hope in the hearts of many children.
Eventually the children are taught that it’s not so much wishing on stars, but instead it’s hard work, wise choices, and “a little bit ‘o luck” that will get you everything you have ever hoped for – at least we hope so!
Consider King Solomon. He applied himself in many ways, and there is much we can learn from his many sayings in Proverbs. Yet as he somewhat sadly reflected over his life and accomplishments in Ecclesiastes 2, he pointed out, “Who can have enjoyment without Him?” and later, “Remember Your Creator.” We must place our hope in God alone, for this world offers no guarantees. As Solomon said, we “do not know what misfortune may occur” (Ecclesiastes 11:2).
276 guys can attest to that in Acts 27:9-44, when they took a lively trip on a ship to Rome. With a sense of foreboding from the beginning, they sailed away from their safe harbor, “hoping somehow” to complete the trip (Acts 27:12 HCSB). From our view centuries later, we know God was completely in charge of the trip and they were safe as could be in the will of God. But at that time, from what they knew, the passengers could only hope the captain knew what he was doing (he didn’t), they could only hope the wind would cooperate (it didn’t), and they could only hope various attempts to shore up the ship would help (they didn’t.)
For fourteen dark days and darker nights, wave upon wave crashed against that ship and broke down every particle of hope until “All hope…was gradually abandoned” (Acts 27:20). Sometimes it takes getting that desperate to turn to God. At least now they were open to hear Paul tell them of an angel’s visit on their ship, who said that all could be saved – if they would trust and obey the One who controlled the waves. Some had a little trouble with the plan, but in the end, they all stayed together as instructed; and everyone was safely brought to shore.
Reading on in Acts 28, we see the story didn’t end then. Instead God arranged some bonus R & R on the lovely island of Malta. It must have been like a revival, with miracles happening and people honoring each other. It was truly beyond anything they could have ever hoped for. Isn’t God wonderful?
Just think of it this way, to place your hope in God is a “win/win” for every believer, with “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.”
Paul summed it up toward the end of his life,
The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom. 2 Tim 4:18a
With hope like that, we can sing with the psalmist, “Why so downcast, o my soul, put your hope in God” (Psalms 43:5).
About the Writer:
Ruthe Turner is Director of Truett Memorial Library of First Baptist Church Dallas, where you will find a treasure-trove of resources concerning the Hope of God. You are invited to visit the library in person or on-line at www.firstdallas.org/library