Why are you in despair? And why have you become disturbed? Put your hope in God, for He does not disappoint, for His love has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit whom He gave to us. Psalm 42:11, Romans 5:5
Concerning 2021, restoring hope may be one of the biggest keys for each of us as we begin this new year. It is because so much hope was lost during 2020 due to the pandemic and other struggles here in America and the rest of the world..
Some of us lost hope due to a loved one’s death; others of us lost jobs, businesses, and incomes. Still, others had to sit alone on holidays or be separated from loved ones on birthdays and other family gatherings.
The bottom line is that prolonged tough times like these can often take away our hope, causing us to fall into despair, hopelessness, and bad decision making. Of course, God promises never to leave our sides during these times, asking us to pray, read His Scriptures, and accept help from others He sends our way.
Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6
But what if we don’t listen to Him and decide instead to live out 2021 and beyond in bitterness, regret, and even growing disbelief in God? Will He then abandon us?
The following true story answers this question; it is of a missionary who lost all hope during a terrible year of his life.
In 1921 a young missionary couple named David and Svea Flood traveled from Sweden to Africa to do a ministry amongst one of the tribes. They teamed with another couple, the Erikson’s, in this ministry effort. When they arrived, they were immediately rejected by the tribe’s chief. They prayed and prayed, but no matter what they did, nothing worked. The only contact the chief allowed them to have with the tribe was with a young boy who could sell them chickens and eggs twice a week. That being the case, Svea Flood talked to the boy often, explaining who Jesus was and the salvation He brought to all who would believe.
Eventually, the boy put his faith in Christ, which had an amazing impact on the rest of the tribe later on. Meanwhile, there was little fruit to their efforts to reach this tribe for the kingdom, which caused the Eriksons to leave. Yet, David and Svea Flood decided to stay even though now alone in their efforts. Not long after, Svea became pregnant in the middle of this primitive environment and gave birth to a little girl they named Aina. The delivery was difficult, taking the life of Svea 17 days later.
David Flood lost hope at this point and became very bitter at God. When his daughter could travel, he left the tribe and linked up again with the Eriksons. He hastily gave his daughter to them to raise and left for Sweden. This is what hopelessness can do if not remedied; it can lead to terrible decisions.
Within eight months, both the Eriksons were stricken with a mysterious disease and died. The baby was then turned over to some American missionaries who adjusted her Swedish name to “Aggie” and eventually brought her back to the United States at the age of three.
This family loved little Aggie and raised her to be a Godly young lady. While in college, Aggie met and married a young man named Dewey Hurst. They experienced a wonderful marriage together, having two children. Dewey soon after became president of a Christian college in the Seattle area. Their lives were filled with a lot of joy and hope for the future.
One day, as Aggie was going about her daily routine, a Swedish religious magazine was unexplainably put in her mailbox. She had no idea who sent it, and of course, she could not read the words. As she turned the pages, all of a sudden, a photo stopped her “cold.” There in a primitive setting was a grave with a white cross, and on the cross were the words SVEA FLOOD. The missionaries who raised her told her the story of her mother.
Aggie jumped into her car and went straight to see a college faculty member at her husband’s school to translate the article. The instructor summarized the story: It was about missionaries who had come to Africa. They birthed a daughter, but the mother soon died. But during all these circumstances, the mother had led a little African boy to Christ. And after the missionaries left, the boy grew up and finally persuaded the chief to let him build a school in the village. The article said that gradually the young boy won all his students to Christ…the children then led their parents to Christ…even the chief became a Christian. Today there were 600 Christian believers in this African village. All because of the sacrifice of this one missionary couple (David and Svea Flood).
This had a tremendous impact on Aggie, which led her to locate her father, who was still in Sweden. When she arrived to see him, she found out he had remarried and had four other children. He was an old man, though, and dominated by alcoholism; his family warned Aggie that he was still very bitter about his experience with God in Africa. He had made a rule in his family, “Never mention the name of God because God took everything from me.”
Aggie was undaunted by this warning and set out to see her dad and tell him all that God had done. She walked into his neglected apartment and approached her dad lying on a wrinkled bed.
“Papa?” she said.
He turned and began to cry,
“Aina,” he said, “I never meant to give you away.”
“It’s all right, Papa,” she replied, taking him gently in her arms, “God took care of me.”
However, soon after, her father stiffened, and his tears of joy in seeing Aina stopped; he blurted out, “God forgot all of us back then!” He then turned his face back to the wall. Aggie stroked his face and continued, “Papa, I’ve got a little story to tell you,” and then told him about the little boy that brought the whole village to Christ. Her father’s face began to relax, and hope seemed to enter back into his life. By the end of the day, he asked God to forgive him for his bitterness and began to put his life into God’s hands once again.
Over the next few days, Aggie and her father enjoyed many warm moments together. A few weeks later, David Flood, the missionary, went to be with the Lord, but not without the joy of having his last moments with a loving daughter.
You see, even if we have lost our hope, as some have during 2020, God does not lose His hope in us. Therefore, let this coming year, 2021, be filled with renewed hope, not hopelessness. And if you cannot, then God will retrieve it for you later on, as he did with this broken missionary.
The story of the David and Svea Flood, by Jim Cymbala in his book, Fresh Power.” (Pages 115-120)
Romans 8: 28 We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
Lamentations 3:24 The Lord is my portion says, my soul. Therefore I have hope in Him.
Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.