The Joy of Hope

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Everyone needs something to look forward to. Without a path, we wander aimlessly and without purpose. A friend once gave me a paper weight with a wise saying on it: “The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” I keep that paper weight on my desk at home to remind me to always have a purpose, the one God has for me.

After my husband passed away a year ago, I felt like a boat without a rudder, floating wherever the waves took me. I couldn’t see my way forward alone. After all, I had been married for forty-nine years, most of my adult life. We married while in college and built a life together. We no longer had children to care for at home; they were grown with children of their own, so it was just me now. I really felt that my life was over too, and I wanted nothing more than to join my precious spouse in heaven. After all, the Bible teaches us that there are no tears in heaven, no pain, no illness, only the Joy of being in God’s presence. It sounded wonderful to me.

God, however, had other plans. He wasn’t finished with me yet. To say it has been a busy year since Ken’s passing would be a gross understatement. As our church emerged from the Covid virus, we set to work to revitalize programs. I am the chair for our In-Reach committee and the needs of our congregation were greater than ever. Additionally, I sat on two other committees. As if that wasn’t enough, for several years, I have been certified in the Methodist Church to bring a Sunday message to churches in need of someone when their pastor was away. I have been called upon several times this past year to fill this role. God certainly does have a plan for me and He intends to use me for his Glory until He calls me home.

We can’t live in the past, or get stuck in the present, we have to look to the future and trust God’s plan for our lives. In all the busyness of my life friends have said that I haven’t missed a beat since becoming a widow. Little do they know of the anguish and pain I have felt, but God has given me a purpose and that leaves little time for self-indulging pity. I cried out and God heard me – loud and clear.


Debra Ison