Friday Focus

November 29, 2019

Hope on the Horizon

In Lee Strobel’s book, The Case for Hope, he tells the story of Major Harold Kushner.  Kushner was a prisoner of the Viet Cong for more than five years.  He describes one of his fellow American prisoners, a tough twenty-four-year-old Marine who made a deal with their captors.  The Marine agreed to cooperate with the enemy, and in return the commander of the prison camp promised he would let him go.  The young Marine did whatever was asked of him.  He became a model prisoner, and he even became the leader of the camp’s thought-reform group.  But before long it became clear to him that the camp commander had lied to him and that the Viet Cong had no intention of actually releasing him.  This is how Major Kushner described what happened next to the Marine:

“When the full realization of this took hold, he became a zombie.   He refused to do all the work, and he rejected all offers of food and encouragement.  He simply lay on his cot, sucking his thumb.  In a matter of weeks, he was dead.”

 The cause of this prisoner’s death might be summarized in one word:  HOPELESSNESS.  There’s little doubt that hopelessness can kill.  In WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, many prisoners died from a condition doctors named “give-up-itis.”  The prisoners faced grim conditions and had no apparent prospect of freedom, and some of them became demoralized and deeply mired in despair.  After a while they turned apathetic.  They refused to eat or drink.  They spent their time staring blankly into space.  Drained of hope, these prisoners gradually wasted away and died.  The human spirit needs hope to survive and thrive.

Of course, very few of us face the peril of being a prisoner of war.  However, there are many who face life without hope in the daunting days of the world we live in.  If you want to see an example of hopelessness, turn on the nightly news or read the front page of your newspapers.  More personal examples of hopelessness can be found as people walk through things like divorce, broken relationships, sickness, financial struggle.

As we enter the Advent season, we are reminded that with Jesus Christ, HOPE IS ON THE HORIZON!

Join us this coming Sunday as we look at the words of the prophet Isaiah as he proclaimed the great truth – that hope has a name. His name is Jesus.  I pray you will make plans to join us as I believe God has a powerful Word he wants us all to hear and be reminded of as we enter into the final days of 2019 and look forward to 2020.


Pastor Brandon

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