When I was shopping with my friend Colleen and my daughter Rachael, we found a plaque that says, “Go out on a limb, that’s where the fruit is!” They bought it for me and said, “That’s exactly what you’re doing.” Sometimes hope feels like you are putting yourself out there on a limb, but that’s where the fruit is!
Hope gives life to people. Our words have power; and they can either give life or they can do the exact opposite. This year at the Joni and Friends Camp, the message will be about hope and I am looking forward to it very much. A lot of people might look at me and my friends at this camp for families affected by disability and think, “Man, these people have a tough life,” because of our struggles, and they may feel sorry for us. But they don’t know the power of the hope that lives within us! When we get together, it is quite the opposite atmosphere of what they think. The struggles each family might face are pushed to the sidelines by being around people who understand their journey; it is a community of hope! Being on life’s journey alone can be isolating, so it is important for us to be together and share hope with each other.
The way that we can find hope again, if we have lost it, is to first admit that we cannot retrieve hope on our own. We have to let go of our plans and surrender them to God. After we have gotten some rest, there is often a flicker of hope that is ignited in us again. Besides, when I surrender my plans to God, they turn out different, and many times actually better, than what I first anticipated.
Going out on a limb might feel ok in the beginning, but it is not long before you start to think, “Oh no, this is not going to work, I am too far out here!” This can lead to doubt and depression if the fruit does not come right away.You may think the fruit is when you attain your particular goal, but when you take a closer look at your journey, I hope you can see a more important by-product. Lo and behold, the fruit that is attained on your journey toward your goal is actually more important than the initial goal itself.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”