Two weeks ago, I was listening to Christine Cain’s Equip and Empower podcast. In her podcast, Christine said three words which invoked a deep reflection on my Christian journey. These three words were “Prisoner of Hope”.
Prisoner of hope
As I meditated on these words, I began to reminisce on my life as a Christian. I remembered being scared initially. The sound of my father’s laughs echoed in my memory as I recalled the first time, I told him that I was saved. Prior to this moment, I never knew that a “prisoner of hope” could have been so young. I thought it was reserved for the old.
I was the first member of my household to get saved and it felt like I was travelling unguided through a desert. I was so fragile. I felt new, but I still looked the same, talked and walked the same. I wondered if transformation was really taking place. I was fearful that my father’s pronouncement of failure would prove to be true.
However, with the help of the Holy Spirit, the word of God and other Christians; I slowly grew to embrace this new path. Having been on this journey for 7 years, I would like to share with you two critical lessons that I have learnt in embracing my new identity as a Prisoner of Hope.
1) As a Prisoner of Hope, I am a candidate for power
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you...” (Acts chapter 1, verse 8)
On my own, I am a jacked-up sinner who knows nothing better than to speak negatively of others, and who lacks the self-control to resists porn and other sexual temptations.
I still find it difficult to tell a passenger who sits beside me on the bus that Jesus loves them, or speak with young men about the value of the cross. I have so many limitations; but, I take great comfort in knowing that I don’t have to rely on my own efforts to be an effective witness of Jesus Christ.
2) Sufficiency of His grace.
2 Corinthians chapter 12, verse 9 reminds me that the power of Christ is perfected in my weakness. Knowing that I can do all things in Christ who gives me strength (Phillipians chapter 4, verse 13), has allowed me to make small strides towards living how God wants me to live. It has provided me with a sense of confidence knowing that my participation in the great commission is sustained by a power far greater than I could ever perceive or imagine.
As a Prisoner of hope, I understand that though my hope starts with my submission to God, it is sustained by His power and grace. I am daily being empowered by the Holy Spirit to share my hope in my respective sphere, whether it's one of great persecution ( Jerusalem), familiarity( Judea), prejudice ( Samaria) or mystery (ends of the earth).
3 ) When every other thing fades away, Jesus still remains
“and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Mathew chapter 28, verse 20).
I struggled to find satisfaction in Christ alone. Knowing that being a Christian doesn’t guarantee that all my desires, passions and dreams will be met was so infuriating. Also, I sometimes thought that the clock didn’t always tick the same; as trials seemed so long while successes seemed so fleeting.
Through many tearful moments, uncomfortable conversations with friends and gut-wrenching prayers to God; I have become a little less fearful of disappointments, trials and hardship as I know that they are producing in me a hope which doesn’t disappoint (Romans chapter 5 verse 5). I am now convinced that the greatest gift that God can give to me is Himself.
Whether well-fed or starving, educated or illiterate, sick or healthy, fat or slim, I will always have Jesus (Hebrews 13 verse 5). This conviction has made it a little easier for me to hope. It has enabled me to live this life with my head held up, arms open wide and my heart filled with praise.
As a Prisoner of hope, I am always propelled to cling to hope; But in clinging to hope, I let go of guilt and shame; which allows me to live righteously, love abundantly and believe continuously in God's promises for mankind that are ye and amen.
Knowing that my hope is living, everlasting and is sitting on the right hand of God challenges me to press towards a future where there will be no pain, nor death, nor suffering.
I implore you reader, to hope persistently. Allow your branches to be drafted into its vines. Allow the roots of your heart to tap into its everlasting reservoir of joy. You may be considered stupid, weird and cruel to yourself for clinging onto hope; but as the scriptures promises, this hope won’t disappoint us.
Akeel Henry is a prisoner of hope. He enjoys sharing the hope of Jesus Christ with all individuals. He is currently a trained biochemist who aspires to become a medical doctor and pastor in the future. He believes that the secret to contentment is a moment by moment dependence on God’s grace, power and provisions.