There's a story that tells of a woman who volunteered with the school district in a large city. Specifically, she was helping tutor children who were forced to miss school due to illness. One day she was given a name and a hospital room number, with this written instruction from the teacher: “We’re studying nouns and adverbs in his class now, and I’d be grateful if you could help him understand them so he doesn’t fall too far behind.”

When the woman arrived at the hospital room, she found a young boy who had been badly burned that was lying in great pain in the bed. Overwhelmed by the sight of this boy, all she could do was blurt out, “I’ve been sent by your school to help you with nouns and adverbs.” After working with the child for a time, she left feeling foolish. What good were grammar lessons to a boy in his condition?

However, her visit had a tremendous impact on the boy. Before seeing the tutor, the boy had been slowly deteriorating. After her visit, he seemed to find his will to live, working with therapists, eating meals, responding to treatments. Later the boy explained, "I had just about given up, assuming I was going to die. But when this teacher came, I realized that I was going to be all right. They wouldn't send someone to work on nouns and adverbs with a dying boy, would they?" What this woman shared about grammar was of relative benefit to the boy. But the hope that she brought to his life made all the difference. It saved his life.

Is the story true? I don't know. Is the lesson true? Without a doubt. Hope is a powerful thing, giving us strength at times when nothing else can. They say that as the famous atheist Jean-Paul Sartre drew close to his death, he fought against despair, insisting that he would die in hope. But he also acknowledged, "Hope needs a foundation."

God provides hope. He is the perfect foundation for our hope, the one that will never fail. Hope built on God and His promises need never fail. I am convinced that this hope, more than any other, can change lives and provide a sense of meaning in this world. The prophet Isaiah wrote: “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31). Almost three thousand years later, it's still true.

We need hope. If you're having trouble finding hope in your life, let some of us help you. Contact me at or join the discussion on our blog at

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