I cannot help but continue with the theme of hope today. It seems to be pressing in all around me this week!
I wrote Monday’s blog post last Wednesday when the thoughts first began to swirl in my mind. In intended to post it on Friday, but forgot. So, it sat there in a saved file all weekend.
On Sunday, Doug intended to center his first Advent sermon on faith. But as he lit the first candle to begin the children’s sermon, "hope" just popped out of his mouth, leading him to make spontaneous adjustments through the rest of the morning.
The blog post went up on Monday, and I reread it as I frequently do, reminded again of hope.
At lunch on Monday we lit our home Advent candle. (We do it on Mondays because Sundays are frequently too unpredictable in our household!) We continued with the theme of hope, discussing all the ways the things of Christmas, including decor and presents, remind us of hope.
Finally, as I jotted notes throughout my morning Bible reading yesterday (Tuesday) morning, hope stood out to me once again in numerous passages scattered throughout my readings.
In 1 John 3, I saw the reminder that I am God’s child now, but there is still more to come than I could ever know or imagine.
See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 1 John 3:1-2
Then I moved on to Nahum. Similar to passages throughout the prophets written before, during, and after the exile, God reminds His people through Nahum that His plan is beautiful restoration. The fall and exile of Jerusalem was a dark, dark time. But hope could be seen even in the deepest point of that darkness.
The one who scatters has come up against you.
Man the fortress, watch the road;
Strengthen your back, summon all your strength.
For the Lord will restore the splendor of Jacob
Like the splendor of Israel,
Even though devastators have devastated them
And destroyed their vine branches. Nahum 2:1-2
Finally came Luke.
Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart Luke 18:1
I love that verse! The disciples were with Jesus. They expected Him to bring victory and usher in God’s eternal kingdom! They had no idea the grief, persecution, and trials coming their way. But Jesus knew. So He gave them a story just to gird them up for that time. He prepared them. He knew they wouldn’t get it quite yet, but He also knew they would have it when they needed it.
Typically when God surrounds us with a theme, topic, message, word, or passage, it is because He wants to get the message through our thick skulls. Well, okay, so maybe I’m the only one with the thick skull, but you get the idea.
God-given hope is real. It is not empty. It does not look like a child hoping for some Christmas gift that he may or may not receive. It is a certainty. It is knowledge. We know we will not be forgotten. We know we will be heard. We know we will be saved. We know Christ already holds the victory. We know these things through God’s Word which has always proven true, and we know these things through experience with a God who has always kept His promises. Christ was born so that the certainty of hope would supersede the uncertainty of everything we see and experience. Cling with me to that hope today!