(Posted: May 7, 2013)
I appreciate the many of you who connected for the last Liberty Institute for Military Resilience (IMR) on April 18 entitled “Resilient Military Marriage and Family.” If you were unable to attend, you can go to the Webinar section at the bottom of www.liberty.edu/online/IMR to see the archived IMR webinars, including this last one.
Our last slide in the April seminar was entitled “The Hope Diamond.” Given that hope is so central to all human beings, particularly those who navigate the life and death matters related to military service; I thought I would expand these “Hope Diamond” thoughts for your consideration and response.
So let’s talk for a few moments about diamonds, often called a “girl’s best friend.” In fact, they could also be considered a “guy’s best friend.” In my own experience training Army Rangers, I would often refer to them in their early days of training as “Diamonds in the Rough.” After they were put under heat and pressure in military training, they would start to shine like diamonds; in this case industrial diamonds that are strong enough to cut steel, grind through granite, etc. Yes, diamonds are valuable in a number of ways.
Have you seen the actual “Hope Diamond” in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC? This is the most famous and valuable diamond in the world worth $250 million dollars, 45.52 carats, 9.1 ounces. Further study into the history of the Hope Diamond reveals some other interesting facts: the diamond is not named after the quality of hope, rather after an 18th Century British gentleman named Hope. As well, there was a fair amount of intrigue and greed surrounding people trying to obtain Mr. Hope’s valuable diamond for their own personal use. In short, this diamond brought out the worst in people.
Conversely, there is another “Hope Diamond” that brings out the best in people. In 3:16: The Numbers of Hope, Max Lucado arrays John 3:16 in the shape of a diamond. He further describes this “twenty-six word parade of hope… beginning with God, ending with Life… He loves and He gave… We believe and We live.”
This is true hope. The hope that does not depend on outward circumstances, but rather the inner condition of the heart and the reality of the “hope and future” that God promises to those who follow Jesus. This is the hope diamond that we need! This is the precious jewel that we already have in Jesus.
Romans 5:1-5 summarizes it well:
“Therefore, having been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of god. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character, and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
The fact is that hope is essential, as essential as air itself. You may have heard that one can live without food for months, without water for days, and without air…and HOPE… for seconds. Hope is particularly essential to military men, women, and families who navigate the challenges of deployment, separations, single parenting, mental health challenges including depression and potential suicide, and ultimately life and death.
As we consider the many specific topics of relevance to the military society as members and caregivers (Resilient Military Marriage and Family, Military Transitions, Being a Resilient Warrior, and other well defined topics), it is equally important to “gain altitude” periodically, reflecting on critical spiritual realities such as HOPE, which does not disappoint!
Respectfully in Christ,