Hope can be a verb or a noun. Used as a verb it means we want something to happen. We hear stories of tragic events and hope everything and everyone will be safe. We may hear from a friend or loved one who shares a need. We end the conversation with “I hope everything works out.” Newly expecting parents may say, “I hope it’s a girl,” or, “I hope it’s a boy.” Students walking down school hallways utter, “I hope I get an A in this class.” “I hope I make the team.” When we are going through difficult time hope becomes a noun <click to tweet>. HOPE is something we long for. We long for a particular thing to happen to lift our spirits and bring peace. It is our hope that a loved one recovers from an illness or accident. It is our hope that a relationship can be saved. It is our hope that a new job can be found to replace the one we lost.
It has been my experience to find hope when others put actions to their words. In December of 1988 the youth of South Park Baptist Church gathered for a Happy Birthday Jesus party. I attended the party since Don was serving as youth minister. I taught a youth Sunday School class and helped out on retreats.
There were a few of the youth who had babysat for us since our arrival in Alvin a year earlier. That evening following the games, singing Happy Birthday, and eating cake one of the youth leaders got up and began to speak. He called Don and I to the front and began to thank us for all we had done to help guide our young people to a better understanding of Christ. He then presented us with a gift. In those days it was popular to give a money tree. The tree was actually a branch that was spray painted white and decorated with small ornaments. The tree was then placed into a decorated flower pot.
While the adults had pinned bills to the branch, the youth had placed their loose change into the pot to hold the tree upright. I’m sure none of them thought of anything big coming from their nickels, dimes, and quarters. Yet they put them in anyway, hoping it would help tell us how much they loved us.
On that dismal, damp, chilly January afternoon as I raced through our home trying to pick up what I would need to be at the hospital with Don, my eyes fell onto that flower pot sitting on the kitchen counter. I would need to notify people of Don’s condition. I hadn’t even talked to his or my parents about the accident.
Those were the days before cell phones and I knew my only source of communication would be pay phones. I grabbed the flower pot, dumped the change into a lunch bag and put it in my purse. Later I was able to use those nickels, dimes, and quarters to call family and friends asking them to pray. My hope for his survival was made possible because some teenagers put their ‘hope’ into action and God answered the prayer, the hope of those I was able to call by healing Don.
Now Don is often called the ‘minister of hope.’ He speaks to people all over the world telling them that God is a God who listens, who loves, and who cares for His people. What a wonderful gift of HOPE that little flower pot became!
About Eva Piper:
Eva Piper is a speaker and author with a unique insight into the trials of heartache and the triumph of overcoming. The wife of best-selling author Don Piper, Eva was the glue that held her broken husband and her family together. Don’s story, recounted in the New York Times bestseller, 90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Life and Death, is Eva’s story too. A teacher of 34 years, she and Don now live in Pasadena, Texas. Visit her website to reserve your copy today or to read a free chapter. You can also connect with Eva on Facebook and Twitter.