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Are you in a situation that seems impossible to get out of? Are you getting ready to give up? If that’s where you are at the moment, God is telling you to keep hopeful, hold on, and trust Him. A lady called Emilie Batisse was seventy-nine when she was injured in a hit-and-run accident and wasn’t expected to live. When Norman Vincent Peale went to visit her, he noticed a row of brand-new poetry books that hadn’t been opened. When he asked her about them, she said, ‘I love poetry, but I haven’t read those…I’m saving them for my old age.’ Mrs Batisse lived to read those books many times, and when she eventually died at ninety-one, she was planning a trip to Europe. Hope is wishing for something to come true; faith is believing it will happen. Hope is wanting something so desperately that despite all evidence against it, you keep believing God for it. And the amazing thing is that the act of hoping produces a strength of its own. When Cornell University conducted a study on the effects of hope, Dr Harold G. Wolff reported that people with hope can endure incredible burdens. One group included twenty-five thousand soldiers imprisoned during World War II. They suffered forced labour, bad food, and filth, and many died; but others showed only slight damage. Interviews with survivors revealed they had a far-above-average ability to hope! They were able to keep their hope alive by drawing pictures of the girls they planned to marry, designing their future homes, and organising business management seminars. Hope not only kept them strong, it kept them alive! It’s easy to see why Paul described hope as ‘an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past…appearances…to the very presence of God’ (v. 19).

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