A few weeks ago I completed the book Laugh Again by Charles Swindoll. Today I completed Swindoll's companion book Hope Again. Hope really is a necessary thing for us to possess, for without its sweet presence in our lives, we are lost, alone, and empty. There is nothing left for us now or in the future. Hope is a wonderful blessing that keeps us energized and alive. I gives us a reason to get out of bed in the morning. It allows us to make our way through life's many trials with strength and keeps our dreams alive.
Swindoll uses the letter of 1 Peter as the underpinning of this book. 1 Peter was written by the apostle Peter as a letter of hope to the Jewish Christians driven out of Jerusalem and scattered about the middle east. This New Testament book, though only five chapters long, contains a significant amount of sage wisdom regarding hope from a man who had lived through his share of fiery trials, who had emerged with hope and purpose. Here was a man who had more than enough strength to encourage his brothers and sisters in the faith.
Swindoll gives reasons for hope beyond the failures, suffering, temptations, guilt, bitterness, and misery that we all carry with us in this life. Instead of carrying the weight of these trials around with us, allowing them to hold us down and define us, we must allow them to bring us closer to our heavenly father, to sharpen and strengthen our spirits, and to give us strength to resist the evil one.