The Antidote on the Back of the Shelf




One of the habits I have not developed well enough is that of going through my cabinets and cupboards to not only organize, but also get rid of those out-of-date items that somehow got shoved to the back of the shelf. How could I possibly forget that nothing I purchase and bring home is without an expiration date?


A few weeks ago I dug into our medicine cabinet to check on expiration dates, but I really didn’t expect to find anything that was a problem because there was not as much there as when our children were young and living at home. I was more than a little shocked to discover a bottle of extra-strength acetaminophen that was several years expired. The bottle had gotten shifted to the back of the shelf and well…you know the rest.


There are other things beyond products we buy that can get shifted to the back of the shelf as well. Some of them are antidotes to things we are struggling with. In the flurry of daily activities we can forget what was already provided for us.


Fear is one of the most prevalent viruses spreading throughout the world today and it gets plenty of reinforcement from daily news no matter what its source. Monster storms, earthquakes, uncontained wild fires, unspeakable atrocities, violence, spreading civil disorder, disabling diagnoses, and even threats from space of asteroids coming close to earth. We are bombarded on every side.


We need more than optimism. Too often optimism is based on fairytales that do not stand up to real life challenges. Optimism many times comes with a heavy dose of denial. I recently read a quote by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks from Celebrating Life:


“It takes no courage to be an optimist, but it takes a great deal of courage to have hope.”


We so easily allow hope to be eroded and Proverbs 13:12a makes clear what that will create:


“Hope deferred makes the heart sick”


God repeatedly points to three key antidotes to the challenges of daily life: faith, love, and hope. I don’t think He intends they simply be words we toss about without meaning or understanding. Three of His reminders that are favorites of mine in my arsenal against the daily onslaught include:


“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)


Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:1-5 (ESV)


“So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. 19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain” Hebrews 6:17-19 (ESV)


Have we paused long enough to get the powerful truth the writer of Hebrews is telling us about? Hope is an anchor of the soul!!


I love what John Eldredge says in his newest book, All Things New, as he describes the difference between faith, hope, and love:


“A life without faith has no meaning; a life without love isn’t worth living; a life without hope is a dark cavern from which you cannot escape.”


John’s words describe so well what can too often be our experience:


“When we lose hope we wander too close to the shadowlands of hell…Hope is the sunlight of the soul; without it, our inner world walks about in shadows. But like a sunrise in the heart, hope sheds light over our view of everything else, casting all things in a new light…


Faith is something that looks backward—we remember the ways God has come through for his people, and for us, and our belief is strengthened that he will come through again. Love is exercised in the present moment; we love in the “now”. Hope is unique; hope looks forward, anticipating the good that is coming. Hope reaches into the future to take hold of something we do not yet have, may not yet even see. Strong hope seizes the future that is not yet; it is the confident expectation of goodness coming to us.”


It can be easy in the midst of crisis and chaos to think or say, “That’s all well and good, but I don’t see it!”


Perhaps that’s the point. Where are we looking?


If we are looking at the world for human options, it can look shaky and bleak at best. We long for someone to stop the madness and rescue us as we slip down a descending slippery slope. There is only One who can and He has promised to be there in the midst of all this (whatever it is) with us and to come for us who put faith in Him.


It is in His Word we find the source of truth, the source of faith, the source of love, and the source of hope. And hope is the antidote for what is often ailing us. It is the anchor we need.















18 thoughts on “The Antidote on the Back of the Shelf

  1. Hi Pam! I appreciate all the Scripture quotes here. The bible is just as applicable to our lives as it was two thousand years ago, and before. It’s amazing how we are all the same, still having fears and struggling with hope.

    I really like your take on it, and it seems that you really enjoyed Celebrating Life too!
    Sunday blessings,

    1. Thanks, Ceil! The Bible has the fascinating position of being old and yet always new, living and active in our lives and the world. John Eldredge has introduced me to many wonderful books, films, and music!❤️ Blessing on your day, Ceil!

  2. I’m always so blessed by your insight and the many wonderful quotes you share, Pam! Thank you!

    I wanted to let you know you’re nominated for a blogging award. Congratulations! The details, if you want to participate, are in this link:

    Grateful for you and your love for our Savior!

  3. Yes! Hope is my anchor! Thank you for reminding us, “In His Word we find the source of truth, the source of faith, the source of love, and the source of hope.” Amen!

  4. I loved this post! Maybe because I can relate to those outdated items in the back of the cabinet! LOL But, seriously, this is such an important topic. I like to keep a list of quotes, but I just had to pin this entire post. You shared so many great thoughts and quotes.

    1. Thanks so much, Donna! The times we live in are very dark and I keep seeking Him for new words to bring encouragement and reminders of where our hope lays as we look to Jesus as the light and source for peace (as well as hope). Have a blessed weekend!💕

  5. Love your explanation about faith looking back, love looking and acting in the now, and hope looking into the future. Never quite heard this explanation. And yes there is a big difference between optimism and hope. The first will only take you so far. The last can carry you through the worst storms because it is anchored on Him.

    1. I had never heard that explanation either until I read it from John Eldredge and it made so much sense to me. Have a blessed weekend, Theresa. Thanks for stopping by💕

  6. Oh, I love rustling through closets and cupboards, furrowing out expired stuff. We’ve got a running joke in our family about my zeal!

    And I’ve taken the liberty of using your Spurgeon quote as my screen saver today. I hope you don’t mind. And I am grateful for those wise words … and yours, too, my friend.

    Weekend blessings sent your way …

  7. “It takes no courage to be an optimist, but it takes a great deal of courage to have hope.” HOW MANY AMEN’S will fit into this comment box!!!! YES, LORD.

  8. “It is in His Word we find the source of truth, the source of faith, the source of love, and the source of hope. And hope is the antidote for what is often ailing us. It is the anchor we need.” Amen and amen. Beautiful wisdom here today.

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