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Department: What's Vital?

Dwell in Hope

Wilson, Jan

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Journal of Christian Nursing: April/June 2021 - Volume 38 - Issue 2 - p 80
doi: 10.1097/CNJ.0000000000000811
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Jesus lived a life unlike any other person on earth. Being God, he knew that the definite, prearranged plan to rescue sinners would include being betrayed by a friend, undergoing physical torture, enduring humiliation, and ultimately, experiencing crucifixion (Acts 2:23). As the sacrificial Lamb of God, Jesus carried the full weight of our sin. But being also human, the anticipation of this suffering and anguish troubled his soul (John 12:27). The Greek word tarassó (Strong, 2003, p. 5015) translated to trouble in the English Standard Version of the Bible, communicates the dread, the fear, and the disturbing inward commotion that Jesus felt before his death. And yet, despite the inner turbulence that Jesus experienced, he remained resolute.

Centuries before Jesus was born, David, king of Israel, prophesied that the Messiah would be unshakeable and his flesh would “dwell secure” (Psalm 16:8-9, ESV). After Jesus' resurrection, on the day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter explained that this prophecy of David applied to Jesus when it foretold that Jesus' flesh would “dwell in hope” (Acts 2:26, ESV). How can security and hope coexist with distress and internal agitation?

As nurses, we often feel fear or emotional turmoil when the likely outcome for a patient or a situation seems to be more suffering or upheaval. Being human, we feel unsettled and uncertain. Sometimes our insides churn as we desire to bring hope into our interactions and interventions. But as the losses and adjustments accumulate with no end in sight, how do we remain steady? Where will we find the strength when we know that things will only grow more painful and more unpleasant with time? How can we prepare now so we can endure hard times to come?

The description of Jesus in David's prophecy gives us a perfect pattern to consider. “I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope” (Acts 2:25-26, ESV).

This seeing (prooraó in Greek) is keeping something before one's eyes, actively noticing, or always being mindful of it (Strong, 2003, p. 4308). Jesus lived on earth with his heavenly Father in view and committed himself to accomplish his Father's will (John 8:29), despite growing hostility from religious leaders and the awareness that his death was drawing near. He knew he had come from God and was going back to God (John 13:3). Maintaining an eternal perspective as we conduct our everyday affairs can foster deep hope for the future.

Having God “at his right hand” speaks of Jesus' unbroken experience of his Father's presence (John 14:10-11) that kept him from wavering or being shaken. What a comfort that we are never alone!

As a result, Jesus' heart was glad and his tongue rejoiced. His flesh—the physical man—lived in hope. This hope was not fleeting or occasional. It didn't wax and wane. To dwell comes from the Greek kataskenoó, which is to remain, to camp down, to pitch a tent, or to lodge in a place (Strong, 2003, p. 2681). Jesus established his existence, his way of living, in hope—even in the face of upcoming hardships!

Jesus' hope sprang from confidence in the promise that his body would not see decay or be abandoned in the place of the dead. He knew he would be brought back to life in the resurrection. “For you will not abandon my soul to Hades or let your Holy One see corruption” (Acts 2:27, ESV).

May our hope of future resurrection, coupled with the stabilizing, joy-giving daily presence of the Holy Spirit, enable us to dwell in hope.

QUESTIONS FOR NURSES

  • How can we become more consistently mindful of God's presence as we encounter uncertainty?
  • What part can prayer and meditating on Scripture play in your awareness of God? How can you incorporate these practices into your daily life?
  • How might looking at life with the promised eternal future in view change the way you dwell in the present? What Scripture verses help you to maintain an eternal perspective?

References

Strong J. (2003). Tarassó. Prooraó. Kataskenoó. In New Strong's exhaustive concordance of the Bible. Thomas Nelson.
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship