Shortly after we arrived in Hawaii to help search for our son, John Reece, my husband began talking about how we did not despair because we had two kinds of hope. You can read the whole story in our book, Aloha is Forever.
I described Hope #1 in my last post although there was one thing I left out. I forgot to mention that John was tenacious. He never gave up on anything so we knew that if there was any way he could get out of the Kohala Mountains, he would. We envisioned him dragging himself up the side of one of the steep cliffs inch by inch. We knew he would never give up and that fueled our hope.
As the month of December progressed and it became more and more apparent that we would not find John, Hope #2 began to take priority in our minds and hearts.
Those of you who claim not to believe in God will have to give me some leeway here. We do believe in God and in His ability to fulfill the promises He made in His Word, the Bible. And that was where our Hope #2 was anchored. We knew beyond any shadow of a doubt that if we didn't see our son again here on this earth, we would see him again and be with him in our Heavenly Father's presence for all eternity.
I Thessalonians 4:13-18 sums up this hope better than I could:
"But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep (died), lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words."
So even though the prospect of never seeing John again here in this life was inconceivable, terrible, horrific, devastating and whatever other feelings you can imagine, we were comforted and sustained by our Father's promises.
We knew that John's relationship with God was solid. There was not even a shadow of a doubt about that. He had recognized he was a sinner when he was only 4 years old and he had asked Jesus to forgive him and live in him and through him at that early age and had confirmed his faith in Jesus over the course of his life.
So even though our faith was tested in the fiery furnace, our hope never wavered. That is the power of Hope #2.