Hopeful?

 

hope1On Sunday, Margaret handed me a yellowed copies of two magazine pages from 1994. It was an article I had written titled “Fearless Living in Fearful Times.”  22 years ago I wrote of the fear that so many experience when change comes. “Change is  frightening to most of us.    We are made comfortable  by  the traditions and habits of our lives, shaped by time and tradition. However, America is a society in a time of re-structuring.  … Yes, the church is changing too.  … Christians are wrestling with choices about behavior trying to discover the guidelines for a holy life in these changing times.”  22 years later, the pace of that change of which I wrote is increasing.  Fear is rampant. From it, hopelessness grows to take over so many people’s lives. I hear this from many, “I am overwhelmed by life.  I just exist because I cannot see the future.”

There is HOPE for us, dear friend.  There is a future. We have a promise that holds even through death itself! The writer of Hebrews reminds us that though the world is under the judgment of God, those who trust in Jesus are secured in a hope that is certain. “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure.” (Hebrews 6:10-11, NIV)  Speaking of God’s inability to lie, the Word continues to say that “We who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” (Hebrews 6:18-19, NIV)

Time changes everything except the promise of eternal life in Christ! When I look back over my brief life, I remember finding temporary hope in so many things;  love, family, accomplishments, experiences of delight, and recognition that came my way.  The light of each of those things dimmed with the passing of time. The kids grew up, moved away, and found their own lives as they should. My achievements were surpassed by those who came after me.  Even, love was shattered by death’s arrival. But, God’s love and promise only grows stronger.

Advent is a season in which we look in two directions.  We remember the coming of the Baby to Bethlehem, God in flesh, to save the world from sin. Our hope, as we read in Hebrews, is anchored in the Cross and the Resurrection. And we turn to the future, anticipating the coming of the Lord of Glory.  His arrival will make all things right, bring justice, and erase the Curse that causes suffering and death.  And so we sing- both remembering and hoping – ‘Joy to the World, the Lord has come. Let Earth receive Her King!’

Christian, are you just existing day to day, surviving, but without vision, struggling to find meaning and purpose?  Like that guy in the old Dunkin’ Donuts™ commercial do you rise each morning with a groan because ‘it’s time to make the donuts.’?  It is no cliché to say, “Look to Jesus!”  We are more than flesh and blood, more than creatures destined to die.  We are, through Him, children of the Heavenly Father, who work with Him to bring Life and Light to this world and then, because HE has promised, we will go home to a place prepared for us.

Meditate on this word from the Word. Matthew quoted this passage from Isaiah’s prophecy as a wonderful description of the promise we find in Jesus. My prayer is that these ancient words will take life for you today and become a source of hope as they point you to the One who is our true hope for life  – now and forever.

 “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
he will not falter or be discouraged ‘till he establishes justice on earth.
In his law the islands (
the far flung nations of the earth) will put their hope.” (Isaiah 42:1-4, NIV)

_____________

O Come O Come Emmanuel (Veni Emmanuel)

 O come O come Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear 

Rejoice rejoice Emmanuel
Shall come to thee O Israel

 O come Thou Dayspring come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight

 O come Desire of nations bind
All peoples in one heart and mind
Bid envy strife and quarrels cease
Fill the whole world with heaven’s peace

Rejoice rejoice Emmanuel
Shall come to thee O Israel

John Mason Neale | Thomas Helmore

© Words: Public Domain

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