Cristina Baker and Hope in 60 Seconds (Part 1)

John FarrellBy John Farrell11 Minutes

John Farrell: Your book, Hope in 60 Seconds, is obviously about hope. Why do you think hope is one of the most important things we can have?

Cristina Baker: People hear hope and wonder what does hope mean? People can say things like it’s hope for a better day and all of that, but hope is a person. I talked a lot about this in my book.

When we find and meet Jesus, He embodies the hope. He embodied the hope that I was looking for all of my life. I had no idea. He gave me the hope that I was looking for a better day. Hope that things would get better, that things would turn around. Hope that there would be a future. We hear this all the time, “For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord. Plans not to do you harm, but to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

That was one of the things that for the first time in my life, all of a sudden, it was like a seed of faith was deposited in my heart that there is hope for a better day. That things are going to get better whereas most of my life it was just utter darkness. There was no hope in anything that I did, much less for tomorrow.

In the day that we’re living in now, with everything that’s going on, it’s not just one area of society, it’s so many different parts of the world that if we don’t have the hope that Jesus offers us in a relationship with Him, if we don’t have that hope to continue moving forward, what do we have? That’s really the question. What do we have if we don’t have Him?

I do videos on TikTok and one of the things that my husband and I saw – we were floored by this – was that people were looking for something to cling to whether or not they knew it was Jesus. Ryan and I were shocked because it was like, “Wow, people were willing to listen to a prayer through a smartphone.” And the thing that God was giving them in that moment was hope through His presence and through prayer. That was it.

He’s a resourceful God. He’ll use anything and everything to reach the hearts of people, even social media. For us, it was just shocking because we’d never been social media people. Just how His spirit, the power of agreement, and as a person on the other side of the smartphone I would jump in front of the camera and say, “Hey, let me pray for you.” And God just imparting hope in that moment. Things will get better and just declaring His word over people. We need Him. We need Jesus. We need His presence to have hope.

Cristina’s Earthly Father

JF: How did your father being an atheist influence you and shape the way you viewed hope?

Cristina: Since we didn’t have any faith or spirituality taught in the home, I was so angry at the world. I was so angry at my parents’ divorce and the way everything went in my life that seeing how my dad didn’t believe as a kid, I just took that on myself. I know looking back now, I didn’t want to admit that there was a God because the question I always had in my heart was, “How could there be a good God when all this evil happened to me?”

So, for me, I became comfortable with there is no God. There can’t be a God because there’s no hope in my life. I think that deep down inside there was also all the pain and the anger and everything that I carried as a child and into my teens and even as a young adult. There was a big part of me that didn’t even want to admit there was a God. Even though the scriptures tell us that the moral law is written on every human heart. And just like I shared with you the beach ball God, He was always there, but it was just too painful for me to even come to terms with the possibility of there being God. So, him being an atheist was good enough for me. There was too much pain and hurt in my life and hopelessness so this worked for me. That made sense that there is no God.

JF: You talked a little bit about how it was when you found out that your dad was homeless and in the book you talk about how you felt like you were kind of like a leprous man. How can we remember in difficult times that Jesus loves the unlovable?

Cristina: In that passage of scripture, it talks about the leper that Jesus encountered. Whenever lepers would have to walk past people that were not lepers, they would have to yell. They would have to identify themselves as lepers. One of the things, when I was studying this was when Jesus touched this man and healed him, it wasn’t just like this courtesy touch. Jesus embraced this man fully as he was.

I think one of the most powerful things that we can remind ourselves is that Jesus loves the unlovable. We know those things, but Jesus wants to fully embrace all of us right where we are. I think that people sometimes get that twisted when they’re coming to the Lord. They think, “I have to have it all together because He has to receive me a certain way.” But there’s a scripture that says, “Come boldly before the throne of grace to obtain help and mercy and time of need.” That word in the Greek context — come boldly — “boldly” is better translated as “frank speech.” He wants us to come as we are now. When we come as we are to Him, He’s going to do a lot of work in us. He’s not going to leave us the way He found us. His very embrace alone is available and He’s ready to take us in the way that we come to Him.

JF: If someone is in a season of feeling lost or unaccepted, what are three prayers that you can offer them?

Cristina:  I like to pray the scriptures. I learned how to pray by praying the scriptures because the scriptures tell us that when we pray according to His will, He hears us. It doesn’t have to be a rehearsed thing. One of the most powerful scriptures we have taught our son for many years is Psalm 91. I will read that out loud if I’m going through a season where I just need God’s touch. Just knowing that God is there brings so much hope. Just knowing that He’s there, that He’s watching over us, that He’s protecting us, brings so much hope.

Psalm 91 is one of the prayers when people ask, “what do we pray?” We come to God and we just begin having a conversation with Him. Then it’s like, “Well, what do I pray?” I always tell people to grab a scripture and just start praying out loud. I would start with praying the scriptures. Find scriptures that bring hope, and then begin a conversation with the Lord with a scripture in their heart and praying that out loud. I always start with Psalm 91. Psalm 23 as well: “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.” Again, it’s just a scripture that brings God is with me, God is there. I don’t know anything else that brings more hope than “God is with me. He’s for me. He’s watching over me. He’s taking care of me.”

I just start praying out loud, praying these scriptures out loud, and I just feel hope and faith rising in my heart. I love to pray the Psalms. Psalm 37 is another good one. There are so many. I could give you a whole list.

Order your copy of Hope in 60 Seconds: Encountering the God of Impossible by Cristina Baker