The source of our Hope is in Jesus
Just two weeks ago, I had the wonderful privilege of standing on the banks of Lake Victoria in Uganda. This is the African continent's largest lake. It is also the world's largest tropical lake and the second widest fresh water lake in the world. Lake Victoria has a surface area of 68,800 square kilometers. These statistics, as amazing as they are, are not what makes Lake Victoria impressive.
What does make this lake incredible is the fact that this is the source of the world's longest river, the mighty Nile. It is said that if one takes a boat trip on the lake, a place is reached where, on one side of the boat, the water is still and placid, while on the other, the beginnings of the river's mighty power and muscle is felt.
Lake Victoria was discovered by British Explorer John Hanning Speke in 1858. He traveled sufficiently far upstream to discover the Ripon Falls, which is the natural outflow of the Nile. Speke named the falls after George Robinson, first Marquees of Ripon. In 1954, the Ripon Falls were included in the construction of the Owen Falls Dam, now the acknowledged source of the Nile. Although Speke's discovery was accurate, it was confirmed as truth, after an exploration funded by the New York Herald newspaper and led by Welsh-American, Henry Morton Stanley.
White water rafting on the Nile can be described as a challenge of a lifetime. This is some of the biggest water for rafting in the world. I found this fact hard to believe as I stood watching the sun set over the placid lake, while the water lapped gently around my ankles.
As I thought about the source of the Nile, I began to reflect on the source of my Hope, the Lord Jesus Christ. I am so grateful that, once a year, a date has been set aside to acknowledge the birth of Jesus Christ. On that day, we are able to reflect on Jesus and the fact that He is the only way for us to have hope in a world that seems intent on self-destruction.
There is more to life than that which we see going on round about us. The global economic crisis, health crisis, starvation, global warming, victimisation and political struggles all leave us hopeless and helpless at times.
Perhaps naively (but I like to think of it rather as having faith in the source of my hope), I am encouraged by the words of the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah who wrote:
Thus says the LORD: "Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength
whose heart turns away from the LORD.
He is like a shrub in the desert,
and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
in an uninhabited salt land.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose trust (HOPE) is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit."
We need to be encouraged to have our source based in Jesus Christ. People will let us down, fail us and hurt us. World systems will never be able to give us peace of mind. Hope in 'things' will never fulfill the place of longing in our hearts. Comfort food or shopping will never eradicate the need for self-satisfaction. A fear of the future and despondency will always be a close companion, if our trust is in stocks and bonds.
It says in Jeremiah, if we trust in Jesus and have our Hope in Him, it doesn't matter what we face in life, we have no need to fear or to be anxious about anything.
The mighty Nile will not stop flowing and bringing its resources to the nations along its course, as long as the source remains constant and free flowing. Even if the nations en route suffer drought, the river is unaffected, as the source is still open and flowing out. People on its banks can still drink and water their crops, as long as they draw from the river.
A continual drawing on the strength of Jesus, and our trust in Jesus on a daily basis, will continue to water our souls and ensure that the untapped source will remain available to us all.
I recently prayed with a woman who has had multiple back surgeries and is literally held together by surgical steel rods and bolts. She was in constant pain and any movement was excruciating. She wanted Jesus as her Lord and Saviour. We prayed, she trusted Him for forgiveness, and the greatest miracle took place. She was instantly a child of God and set free from her sin. We celebrated her Hope now in Jesus. We had not really prayed for her back. However, I dropped something on the floor and, without thinking, she bent down to retrieve it. The realisation when she stood up, that she was pain free, was wonderful. In that moment, Jesus had touched her and healed her back.
Eight weeks later, she is still pressing into Jesus, trusting Him with every aspect of her life. She continues to be pain free and we give God the Glory for that. Her hope is in Jesus who is the source.
Because of Jesus, the source of my Hope, I can face tomorrow. Can you?
Lord Jesus, I ask you to be the source of my hope in a world that is without hope. I want to trust you with every area of my life, and I submit my life to you, choosing to trust you to bring life to my dry and barren heart. May I never be tempted to release my trust and hope in you. AmenThe opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
View all articles by Shelley du Plessis