Hope for everyday!
Updated: Mar 30, 2020
It seems that during these times caused by the coronavirus outbreak here and around the world, the importance of hope should become evident in our thoughts and actions. We cannot talk clearly about hope without including the concepts of trust and faith. All three work together as the foundation of our daily lives. This is true in a spiritual sense as well in secular thinking. Very simply put, faith is belief in something seen or unseen that it will do or be what it is supposed to do or be. Trust is the knowledge that something will happen as planned. And hope takes these two together and determines that today will be better than yesterday, and tomorrow will be better than the days before.
Many of us go from day to day, not realizing the force within us that keeps us going. What is it that pushes us out of our beds and homes every day, gives us the determination to face whatever is “out there,” and assures us that we are on the right path? I believe we can name that invisible force, that ever-present drive, hope.
I invite you to read about a man who had nothing left but hope and faith in God, who was the source of his hope. Jeremiah, the prophet, found himself in a terrible situation. The army of Babylon had surrounded the city of Jerusalem, ready to destroy everything and everyone. If that wasn’t enough, Jeremiah had been placed in prison falsely accused of helping the enemy. One day one of Jeremiah’s kinfolk came to the prison to ask him a ridiculous question. “Hey, Jeremiah. Do you want to buy some land? It is land that has been in the family, and you have first choice.” And what do you think Jeremiah answered? We can find the answer in Jeremiah 32: 1-3, 6,7,9,10,15.
The deed was sealed and put in a safe place for future reference. God made a statement through this act by Jeremiah; in the middle of a situation in which everything seemed to be a loss, jobs were uncertain, health issues caused fear, God told him and tells us, “Houses, fields, and vineyards will again be bought in this land. I will restore my creation.” And in this statement, we can find hope, hope for today, as well as tomorrow. Hope begins with trust, and trust in God means that we must turn loose of ourselves and our efforts to control things. Jeremiah was not in control, and we must turn loose of the notion that we are in control of our lives and the events surrounding our lives. We certainly have no control over the events in our lives and the lives of the people around us in the health crises of today. However, we can control the degree in which we put into place precautions. And trust God for the outcome!
A man went to see Mother Teresa as she worked with the dying people in Calcutta, India. He wanted to find out for sure what God wanted him to do; he wanted clarity of God’s will for his life. The man asked Mother Teresa to pray for God to give him clarity, but she refused. When the man asked her why, she responded, “Clarity is the last thing that you are holding to, and you must let it go.” The man said, “But you always seem to be clear on what God wants you to do.” Mother Teresa replied, “I have never had clarity, but what I have is trust. I will pray that you will come to trust God.”
We hear God offering a seeming ridiculous solution to Jeremiah; “I want you to buy some land. You may not own it tomorrow or even be alive, but I want you to buy it today.” Out of a situation that appears hopeless, if we look closely enough, we see God offering hope. “Buy this land because I promise you that one day all the land which is being taken away will be returned to my people.” God uses a simple, doable act to produce hope in Jeremiah, which he shared with the people. God often finds something simple in our lives to show His faithfulness and to deliver hope in the face of discouragement and impossibility.
A woman came late to the Little League baseball game. The game had already started, so she asked a player sitting in the dugout the score. He replied, “We are behind fourteen to nothing.” The woman said, “You don’t look too discouraged.” The player answered, “Why should we be discouraged? We haven’t batted yet.” Hope based on trust and confidence.
A little girl was taking a test in science class one day when she was asked, “What do hibernating animals live on during the winter?” She wrote down her answer, “Hibernating animals live on the hope of the coming spring.” We, as followers of Christ, should be living on the hope of each new day as it brings fresh grace and mercies, that tomorrow will be better than today. We should be living on the hope of everlasting life, which can begin now.
And by the way, spring is here!
Rev Tim McConnell
Pastor of Congregational Care