“Every day I put hope on the line.”
(attributed to Eugene Peterson)
In Monday’s post, the first of the season of Advent, we recalled the hope of the nation of Israel. For hundreds of years, prophets foretold the coming of the Messiah.
Some scholars believe there are more than 300 prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament. These prophecies are specific enough that the mathematical probability of Jesus fulfilling even a handful of them, let alone all of them, is staggeringly improbable—if not impossible.
Hope concerning the coming of a savior helped many in the Jewish nation hang on to their faith. Others lost hope. They weren’t interested in words spoken by the prophets. Instead, they chose to listen to voices that led their nation into even deeper darkness.
Hope is huge! Hope helps you and me hold on during dark days, or even long, dark seasons. Sometimes, though, people lose hope.
A few years ago, a friend of mine ended her life. For some time, the smart, funny, big-hearted lady had been making very unwise choices. Friends and loved ones tried to warn her, but she chose instead to listen to the deceptive voice of a scoundrel she’d never met face to face.
My friend at last lost hope. I’d like to think her situation is rare, but statistics show that isn’t the case.
More than 47,000 Americans killed themselves in 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday, contributing to an overall decline in U.S. life expectancy. Since 1999, the suicide rate has climbed 33 percent. 
The suicide of one we love is devastating on oh, so many levels. The loss feels especially difficult during the holidays. If you are navigating that kind of grief this season of Advent, I’m praying for you right now, asking God to give you a good dose of divine grace and hope.
Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, lost a son to suicide. His experience makes these words especially powerful.
What gives me the most hope every day is God’s grace; knowing that his grace is going to give me the strength for whatever I face…. 
May hope be kindled in your heart this holy season of Advent…
- https://www.jesusfilm.org/blog-and-stories/old-testament-prophecies.html ↑
- https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/investigations/surviving-suicide/2018/11/28/suicide-prevention- suicidal-thoughts-research-funding/971336002/ ↑
- https://www.brainyquote.com ↑