Grow Deep - Anchored Hope Edition Week 3

Week 3: April 28-May 4

Anchored Hope in Times of Uncertainty

Memory Verse: “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

As a teenager, did you ever play a trust-building game where one person falls backward, usually with eyes closed and arms crossed, into the linked arms of other people? If you were a part of such an activity, what emotions did you have at the time? Did you volunteer to be the one falling? If so, did you immediately take the plunge, or did you hesitate, look backwards to check out the linked arms? Did you buckle your knees a little to lessen the impact, or did you give up and just say, “No way!”? Did you volunteer to always do the catching? I confess I fell into the arms of my friends, but not without verbal reassurances that they would catch me.

Though it’s just a game, consider where you might fall on this spectrum of trust. Now, can you identify with the disciples and Thomas and their uncertainty when they saw the Lord after His resurrection? Thomas wasn’t there the first time Jesus appeared, so he had to trust the hearsay of the disciples. He wanted proof. Like Thomas, many of us want proof … Is everyone standing behind me and are their arms linked? Even the other disciples a week later, after a flesh and blood encounter with Jesus, were still behind locked doors, possibly because of lingering fear, doubt or confusion.

Last week we sang our alleluias of Easter. Now, one week later, do you still have locked-in fears and anxieties betraying your own disbelief? Allow the Lord to walk into those locked places in your life and anchor your hope and trust in Him. Just as Jesus came back to Thomas to fulfill Thomas’ need for reassurance, Jesus comes back to us week after week in the Word and sacraments to fulfill our need of His hope for our belief. So … unlike falling into the arms of your friends with possible uncertainty and mistrust, you can fall into the arms of Jesus anchored in His unfailing hope and love.

Sunday, April 28
Read: John 20:19-31
When Jesus stood among the disciples and breathed His Spirit on them, they were transformed from fear-filled to courageous, from uncertain to assured. They were anchored in hope.
Reflect: Are you still locked in your room or in denial in some way? How might you become overjoyed as the disciples were to know the living Lord and His hope in your life?

Monday, April 29

Read: Jeremiah 29:11-13
God has a plan for each of us; His plans are not for harm but to provide a future with hope and security in Him.
Reflect: What are the first steps you take or first impulses you have when making decisions? Are you willing to lay down your present/future plans and seek God’s plans for you? Are you willing to anchor your hope in Him? Why or why not?

Tuesday, April 30

Read: Romans 12:9-13
Paul encourages us to be patient in the trials and uncertainties of life; to pray. We are to put our hope in Christ and let His love and joy flow through us to others. 
Reflect: Is there a decision you are facing where you need to slow down and spend more time in God’s presence? Commit to petitioning Him in prayer and rejoice in Him while awaiting His answer.

Wednesday, May 1
Read: Micah 7:1-7
There is evil and uncertainty in the world around us; we trust in the certain hope that can be found only in Christ.
Reflect: When all is caving in around you and you are overwhelmed with fear, do you have the confidence in our Lord that Micah had? How can you keep from letting your human perspective of circumstances undo your focus on God’s hope?

Thursday, May 2

Read: Colossians 3:1-4
We are to set our hearts and minds on Christ, not on earthly things. Our lives are hidden with Christ in God, now and for eternity. He is our hope.
Reflect: Think of the things that take you out of the position of abiding in Christ. Do something physical like lifting your eyes, head or hands heavenward and giving those things over to Him. Then, determine to abide and trust in His hope.

Friday, May 3

Read: Psalm 121:1-8
Our help comes from the Lord. He is our hope in times of danger and uncertainty.
Reflect: Consider God’s characteristics in these verses. Where is your hope, in physical or relational powers or in God? Start a digital conversation with someone who is struggling; encourage him or her with the promises and attributes of God described in these verses.

Saturday, May 4
Read: 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
We are to focus our eyes and our thoughts, not on the uncertainty of our circumstances, but on Christ. Our hope is eternal.
Reflect: Do you have some practical ways that you can refocus your eyes on God’s eternal rewards and not on temporary afflictions or things? Practice them and share them with others along with His hope.