In my letter to you, I encouraged memorizing verses from Scripture. First, a couple of thoughts in beginning our consideration of memorizing scripture. Memorizing is a discipline. Now, you know and I know our kids are capable of memorizing everything and anything. I am amazed when I listen to them laugh with one another as they banter back and forth with lines from a movie, they saw from years ago, “in a place far, far away.”
The same holds true with music and songs where they lip-synch for hours with words I don’t understand and songs I really don’t care to hear. Point being, anyone can memorize anything, anytime, anywhere. Sure, memorizing is important. But the discipline required for memorizing is more important. A discipline literally forms and shapes the disciple who follows the teacher. As we consider memorizing hope, we go not to the movies for learning this discipline, nor to a hip-hop song, but to Jesus who is our teacher.
We live in a very tumultuous time. The news scares me to death—if I let it. I fixate on the horror in Ukraine. Yet, what is apparent to me is God is not being called into question right now. We are being called into question. Our lives, our beliefs, our dreams—you name it—so much is on the line. Reporters talk about the United States and Russia finding an “off ramp” for Ukraine, as a diplomatic solution. I wonder if such a solution answers the cry for eleven million refugees, and counting, who have fled Ukraine. An “off ramp” may provide a political answer but think of the despair, the loss, the decimation of a country that is beyond imagination.
Our life, human life, real life, mortal life is being called into question. Although I have no pat answer or quick-fix, I do cling to hope. Remember the memory of hope is a discipline that forms the disciple who follows the teacher. The memorization of hope shapes and forms us a people of hope who follow the teaching of Jesus. The fact that I do not have an answer to world destruction does not mean I have no hope. Actually, all I have is hope. My encouragement is to memorize verses that bring hope and allow hope to become alive and real and perhaps a reality.
Here are some verses worth memorizing. Pick one. And start today.
- They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31).
- Hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. (Romans 5:5)
- Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
- Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you. (I Peter 3:15)
Memorizing hope requires a discipline and as disciples it reflects the character of our life in Christ. The discipline of memorizing guides the mind to move beyond despair into a place where we may form ideas by thinking and imagining what hope looks like. We listen as the heart beats with compassion where even in the valley of the shadow of death we will fear no evil. Like Joshua, our wills are instructed to choose this day whom we will serve. And yes, Easter is coming, where at the empty tomb the cry of “alleluia, He is Risen!” will be heard as our souls come alive through the hope now revealed in the Risen Lord and the promise of a New Day.