Peter in his letter to a suffering people in the early days of the church spoke about a living hope, one that will not disappoint or be false. It was a hope in Jesus. A hope for a better life for our loved one through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This was a very personal hope for Peter. He was a first hand witness to Jesus’s resurrection. He was there, ran to the empty tomb, saw Jesus appear in the upper room, saw him ascend from the earth. He remembered all the teaching of Jesus pointing to the kingdom of God. The living hope was Jesus, himself. He knew Jesus lives. He knew because Jesus lives, those who look to Jesus and confess faith in him will live with Jesus forever. He remembered Jesus saying he went to prepare a place for us and will come back to take us to be where he is, his home.
Stephen Covey teaches successful people begin with the end in mind. You need to know where you want to go to plan and do the steps that will get you there. Keeping the end in mind helps to order our daily tasks and attitudes. Having our living hope in mind helps us plan our tasks and shape our attitude in our daily challenges.
Peter talks again about this hope in I Peter 1:13, “Set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” Call it the big picture.
It is so easy to loose sight of the big picture when we are steeped in the worries of all the distractions in caregiving. The hurtful words, resentments and regrets along with the physical and emotional exhaustion involved in caring take its toll. We can easily loose focus and also hope.
Martin Luther wrote these words of encouragement to those carrying burdens. “Pray and let God worry.” That can be hard to do. Hopefully, as we gather together in our Christian Caregiver Support Group we find encouragement in the listening ear of other caregivers. Somehow, we feel understood and not alone. We might pickup up some helpful ideas. We might feel a sense of peace and relaxation in our restful sabbath time. We pray together and feel we are not alone in our worry. We leave with God’s blessing and strength for another day.
When Christians pray, share and look at God’s word, we experience the Body of Christ. In some way Jesus Christ is with us. Our hope is renewed. It is a Living Hope. The disciples talked about how their hearts were stirred when Jesus was with them That Living Hope stirs our hearts, also.
We may be uncomfortable talking about end of life with the one we love. Your loved one may want to let you know their wishes about dying and it may be your gift to listen. Be ready to give spiritual encouragement. Don’t neglect sharing the living hope that we have in Christ Jesus. Make your last conversations express love. Remember, we are spiritual people having a human experience. Strengthen the spiritual.