Hope. Have you ever thought what "Hope" looks like? For me, hope looks like what happens in Spring. I am always amazed at the emergence of life when Spring returns every year. The greening of the grass, the tiny budding of the trees and bushes, the vibrant colors of crocus, daffodils, and tulips all fill my soul with happiness and anticipation of the coming seasons. I walked around my house inspecting the plants in my gardens just the other day. There is something so exciting about seeing the tiny leafs and sprouts coming up from the surrounding dead foliage. I also found a few that didn't make it through the winter-it was saddening. I was quickly reminded that I had purchased that particular plant from a nursery that guarantees the plants you buy, so if they don't return the next year I could return them and get a new plant to replace it. What a promise! My mood immediately improved and my happiness returned. Hope is an interesting word. I've heard it used many ways. For example: "I hope it doesn't rain tomorrow", "I hope I get that job I interviewed for", or "I hope I have a good year." The usage of hope in these statements seems to leave everything to chance with no promise of anything positive to come out of it. Also the amount of effort they put into "hope" goes no further than just the effort in saying the word. The words people really should be using is want, wish, or desire. Real hope isn't attached to such worldly things. Hope is a powerful word that is defined by Christ's sacrifice and the promises God made to us. It is a confident expectation or longing for the promised blessings of righteousness. Without Christ-true hope would have no meaning. All that would exist is despair and it's suffocating darkness. There would be no rescue from death. There would be no rescue from sin. Hope is compared to an anchor in the scriptures (Heb 6:19) and gives a very powerful visual of it's vital role to our spiritual health. Just like an anchor moors a ship to the floor to prevent it from drifting about by wind or currents, true hope anchors us to Christ amidst all the trials in life and allows us the ability to not only survive adversity but to endure it well. Losing Shawn and Sage was an immense trial that showed me many of my own weaknesses but also revealed many of my strengths. Nothing could take away the pain of separation from them but hope gave me a reason to keep on surviving, living, and eventually thriving. I love the promise God gave us that we can return to Him through righteous living and have those we lost restored to us. I love that in the Spring every tiny bud, or leaf, or flower reminds me of His promises to me (and you) that these tears of separation will someday be tears of glorious reunion.