Hope for the Future

Written by Jill Dayvault

After over 7 decades of life, I’ve had many hopes for the future at all the different stages of my life: hope for a good job and successful career, hope for marriage/family, hope for my daughter and step-children, hope for good health, hope for retirement, hope for my grandchildren, and hope for my church – Wesley Chapel.
There have been obstacles along the way that have seemed hopeless. But I can look back on my life and see how God worked in every single situation (even when I wasn’t yet a believer) to give me hope and a future. And I believe that God is working in the life of Wesley Chapel to give us hope for the future.
Jeremiah 29:11 is a favorite verse of mine, and I know many others who claim this as their life verse. “For I know the plans I have for you “declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” It’s a hopeful verse. But in doing some research to find out the context of this scripture, I discovered that “the prophet Jeremiah spoke these words to Jews who had been living under the domination of the Egyptian and Babylonian Empires before eventually being carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.” One commentary said that “this verse is not a promise specifically to each of us, but a powerful statement about our good God. We all face trials, and while God may not deliver us from troubles, He will give us the hope and strength to thrive as we live through them.”
Hope in the dictionary is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. But Bible hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised and its strength is in His faithfulness. Biblical hope carries no doubt. Biblical hope is a reality and not a feeling.
The past 3 years have been difficult in the life of our church. COVID shut us down in March 2020 and had a heartbreaking impact on in-person worship attendance. Thankfully, Pastor Tony and the Worship and Audio-Visual Teams were faithful in livestreaming services and it kept our church family connected. We slowly but surely started in-person worship again and our future was looking bright.
Then came the vote for disaffiliation from the United Methodist Church in September 2022. When it did not pass, many long-term friends and brothers/sisters in Christ left Wesley Chapel. Again, we experienced a heartbreaking impact on attendance and finances. Our servant pool was greatly depleted. Our Associate Pastor left in January 2023 to plant a new church, and our Worship Director resigned effective April 10. So many changes – so much uncertainty. But I have never lost hope for the future of Wesley Chapel.
In March 2022, we had a Prayer Breakthrough Conference led by Sue Nilson Kibbey, and what I learned at that conference changed my prayer life. I quit praying for my preferences and sought God’s will, not just for my life, but for Wesley Chapel. I was in a Prayer Group for several weeks leading up to the vote in September 2022, and we prayed for our church and did many prayer walks throughout the building, praying over seats in the Wesley Center, each classroom, the office staff, the pastor, and for each person who walked through our doors. I had hope that God’s will would be done because so many people were covering our church in prayer. Even when so many members left last October, I have never lost hope for the future of Wesley Chapel.
In February of this year, I participated in another Prayer Breakthrough Conference. This time, I learned that the minute we start praying, God starts responding. I know God hears the prayers of those of us fervently praying for His blessing on our church.
I have sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit in a new and fresh way through the sermons, the sweet fellowship with my church family, and new people coming through the doors. I’m excited about what God has already done, and I’m anxiously anticipating what God will do in the days ahead.
Wesley Chapel has been my church for 42 years, and I will continue to faithfully serve, love, pray, and give to ensure we remain a beacon of hope for others in our community. God is in control. My hope is in Him and in answered prayers for our church. Because I know God is already responding to my prayers and working things out in His time and according to His will, I have hope for the future.
Will you join me in praying for Wesley Chapel and for God to open new doors and give us fresh possibilities for our future?

One of my favorite songs is “Fear Not Tomorrow” by the Collingsworth Family. I hope you will listen to the words (lyrics are provided with the music) and be blessed. We know Who holds tomorrow – that should give us great hope!