GodReflection: A Secure Grip On Hope.
God does not hesitate to use deserts as grounds to train. Abraham, Moses, Elijah, David, and John the Baptizer were all familiar with arid lands. Then there is Jesus. Immediately after his baptism, he goes to the desert for forty days and forty nights of ministry preparation.
In this series of post, I use the village of Hope in New Mexico’s Chihuahuan Desert as an aid to investigate hope found in Jesus. I am impressed with the number of God-honoring people from that desert community who are honed into use for the Holy. One of those was Ms. Johnson.
Ms. Helen Elizabeth Johnson was also formed in the desert. Her birth was in the territory of New Mexico, a decade before statehood. To read her description gives hints of the Eden Garden in the village of Hope prior to the loss of the Penasco River.
Each day graced Hope with fresh water, apples, peaches, pears, plums, cherries, corn, colorful vines, roses, sugar cane, flowers, shade trees, pumpkins, squash, watermelons, and a variety of farm animals.
After high school graduation and positions with Hope’s telephone office, newspaper, and general store, it was decision time. A summer’s worth of work at a state college was sufficient for a first-grade teacher’s certificate and her initial classroom opportunity was found at home in Hope.
Like others, with the water’s disappearance, she was forced to leave Hope and eventually took a job as a teacher in my hometown neighborhood. Her move was a double blessing to my life. Not only was she my teacher but I was blessed as she greeted me numerous times each week when our church family of the Chihuahuan Desert met.
Ms. Johnson implanted mathematics and the multiplication tables into my mind in her fourth grade class at Hillcrest Elementary School. Repeatedly, with her flashcard drill, her students would recite all combinations to multiply numbers one through twelve.
Yes, a close neighbor in my memory bank to my own name and date of birth are numbers like 8×8=64. I continue to be amazed at the rate numbers multiply. After 12×12=144, then 144×144=20,736 the numbers start to expand quickly and grow past the number of people who live on planet earth.
Hope by its very nature multiplies. I see the multiplication principle at work when Jesus speaks of hope. He tells of small seeds growing into large bushes.
Paul encourages Christians in Rome to experience how hope multiples as he writes, For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope (Romans 15:4) . . . 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 (15:13).
Let me see if I can translate my observation into words. After seven plus decades of my walk across life, I find through Spirit and Scripture, God multiplies and grows hope like a huge cascade of flowing water that increases with each year.
Even with the reality of the daily state of erosion in my world and in my body, I am more confident than ever that The Holy is in control. My hope is firm that by The Spirit I am guaranteed safe passage to God’s restored earth under his new heaven. Ms. Johnson was right. She not only saw the multiplication tables work, but by her life as a follower of Jesus, she too taught hope multiples.
What do you think? Do you see hope multiply as you walk across life?
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection on Hope Multiplies.