There are so many words which travel through my mind as I reflect on my experiences in Moldova. As our team interacts with the children and adults here at our “first of its kind” summer camp in the beautiful southern region of Moldova, two words stand out in my mind…hope and fear.
People hope for many things in their lifetime. They often have hopes and dreams for personal success, financial success, success for their children and families. We all have so many hopes and so many dreams for pretty much everything under the sun! When I think about how many times I use the word “hope” each day, I am reminded that many times I use the word “hope” to wish for things that are of no eternal consequence.
“I hope we get to go out to the movies this weekend!”
“I hope there’s a sale on those new shoes at the mall!”
“I hope we get to go out to eat at my favorite restaurant!” and let’s not forget my teenage daughter’s all-time favorite…
“I hope there’s wifi there!” – the list could go on and on.
When I think about the true meaning of hope and where our hopes and dreams should truly be anchored, I am reminded of a few favorite verses.
“For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord-plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
Psalms 39:7 reminds us that our ONLY hope is found in our Lord.
“And so Lord, where do I put my hope? My ONLY hope is in you.” – Psalms 39:7
I believe that many times hope and fear can go hand in hand.
We are hoping for one outcome and fearing another. The discussion of fear was a theme at camp today as we discussed how “God has the power to comfort!” We as Christians must always cling to God’s word as it relates to fear in our lives. The perfect verse is found in 2 Timothy 1:7 where we are reminded that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.
As I look into the beautiful eyes of the children and families attending camp this week, I ponder how they cope with the deep fears associated with abandonment. I wonder whether they possess the hope promised in Psalms and Jeremiah? I am convicted that I recklessly use the word hope to wish for things that make absolutely NO difference in the kingdom of heaven.
This was demonstrated very clearly to me when a young boy named Igor approached the camp stage to participate in the group discussion on prayer. When asked what he specifically prays for, he described how he “prays for a mom and dad every day…but God has not answered that prayer yet.” I feel guilt when I hear stories such as Igor’s and as I sit in our parent training sessions and listen to two parents who have two biological children and nine foster children (yes…that is a family of thirteen, folks) describe how they battle the fear that they will not have enough food to feed their children the next day. Stories such as these make my hopes, fears, and dreams feel absolutely frivolous and insignificant.
As I have gotten to hear the stories of some of these orphaned children here at camp, my heart breaks.
As I listen to the stories of the families here who are seeking training to help the adopted or foster children living in their homes or even those here contemplating taking a step of faith into the foster or adoption process, I realize that no matter where you live in this great big world – children are children and families are families. We all have hopes and dreams for a happy and successful life.
We as Americans may have never contemplated the fears that some of these children and families experience on a daily basis but one thing is for sure, we ALL serve the same powerful God whose perfect love drives out fear! We serve a mighty God who desires a hope and a future for ALL of His children! We must only trust and believe and take that step of faith. God will take care of the rest!
Oh, and by the way, God has answered the prayers of sweet Igor who has been praying every night for a family to call his own! One of our precious couples who came to camp to receive training to become foster and/or adoptive parents were sitting in the audience and heard Igor describe his prayer for a new family. They have answered God’s call to become his parents and the joy among God’s people in this camp is indescribable! GOD IS SO GOOD … ALL THE TIME!
– Lannette Burlingame