"So faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians 13:13). Hope then is one of the three essentials in life. Without it, the world is dark and dismal. We must have hope to face life's trials.
When a client comes to our center, she is often seeking material assistance such as diapers, wipes, formula, infant clothing, etc. Some are seeking a free pregnancy test, while others are seeking an abortion following a home pregnancy test. No matter what the issue she is coming to us about, we know that what she really needs is hope for the future. Without hope, she will very likely continue with her destructive lifestyle.
A priority for every client advisor should be to share hope with her client. If we are not giving every client hope for the future, we should lock our doors, take down our sign, and throw away the key!
Our clients should get a sense of hope from us with the initial phone call to our center offices for an appointment. When they arrive at the front desk, the receptionist's smile and greeting should give them hope. Throughout the counseling time, the message of hope should be evident. They should be reassured that we will do everything possible to meet their needs.
The goal at all pregnancy care centers should be Romans 15:13: "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." These gifts of hope are sprinkled all through the Scriptures, and it is vitally important that we take her to the Scripture verses that will give her not only hope to face whatever situation she is facing but, more importantly, the absolutely best gift of hope there is — that of eternal life.
The greatest gift of hope that we can give our clients is the hope of salvation in Jesus Christ. Most clients consider themselves a "good person" because they do good things for others. It is vital that our clients understand that they are sinners in need of a Savior. By using the Ten Commandments, a mirror that reflects our sin to us, most clients can clearly see they are not always a "good person!" When taken to 1 John 1:8, most can no longer deny their sinfulness. "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."
We can show them from 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4 what Jesus has done for them: "Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures."
Knowing that heaven is in her future, she will start to see life from an eternal perspective. She will desire to know more of God, to be in the Word daily, to pray, and to be with a fellowship of believers. Her heart's desire will be to live for Him and to raise her children in a godly home as well. "So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
Paul tells us in Romans 8:24 that hope is essential for salvation from a God we have not yet seen: "For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?" In other words, we must have hope that He exists before we can place our faith in Him. Thus, without hope, there is no faith. "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1).
Some pastors are calling hope "the blueprint for faith." In the book, Discover the Power in the Prayers of Paul by Rick Killian, the author states, "In other words, hope plans, faith realizes." He goes on to say, "Hope creates the vision for what you want to accomplish; faith is the day-to-day walking out of that vision. Thus, your faith needs hope in order to work effectively."
It is important for our clients to understand that:
God loves her (John 3:16-17).
God is her refuge and strength, a present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1).
God will give her hope and comfort in her situation (Psalm 119:49, 50).
God's Word has answers to any problem she is facing (John 8:31-32).
Scripture is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16, 17).
Knowing some of God's attributes will also give our clients hope. He will be merciful and faithful to her just as He has been to generations of believers. Psalm 89:1-2 says, "I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord. For I said, 'Steadfast love will be built up forever; in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness.'" She will find hope in knowing that she can trust God because He will keep His word. His mercy will endure forever (Psalm 118:29).
Along with God's love is the forgiveness of sins. We routinely take clients to Psalm 51 where David prays for forgiveness for his sins with Bathsheba. Since many of our clients have sinned in like manner, this Psalm has real meaning to them. It teaches them how to pray and repent of their sins and helps them to see that even a great man like David, a man after God's own heart, has sinned and been forgiven.
God is ever present. "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5; Joshua 1:5). Our clients need to know that the Lord is with them always, and He will be their father. Our heavenly Father is a father of the fatherless, a defender of widows (Psalm 68:5a).
He is their provider, their Jehovah-Jireh. Just as He provides for us, clients need to understand that the Lord will provide all their needs, but not necessarily their wants. "And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).
Our clients need to comprehend that the all-knowing God realizes their fears and weaknesses and will give courage to face what lies ahead. "For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love, and self-control" (2 Timothy 1:7). "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? Wait for the Lord, be strong, and let your heart take courage, and He shall strengthen your heart. Wait for the Lord!" (Psalm 27:1, 14).
Clients need to understand that God is there to guide them through life. They need to be able to trust that the Lord will be there no matter what. "In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:6). "A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps" (Proverbs 16:9). "And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed." (Deuteronomy 31:8).
As we end our counseling session and pray with the client, we know she has been given the greatest hope she can ever receive — the hope found only in the Savior who has given us eternal life.
Gifts of hope found within the pages of Scripture can give our clients reassurance no matter what situation they are facing. By sowing these seeds of hope in our clients' lives, we may help them come to a relationship with the Lord. These gifts of hope may turn our clients' lives in a very different direction.
Our clients may think their hope lies in getting a package of diapers, but they should leave our office knowing their hope is in Jesus. If the Gospel is not clearly presented to clients, they are leaving our offices with no hope whatsoever. Once the package of diapers has been used, they will once again feel hopeless. However, if they have found Jesus, they can turn to Scripture and be assured of the blessed hope.
Diane Pomon, a registered nurse, has served as a CPC director for about 20 years. She and her husband have five children. Her heart's desire is to see biblical counseling and evangelism become an integral part of all pregnancy care centers.