Search This Blog

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Advent 14: Waiting for hope

“In his name the nations will put their hope.” (Matthew 21:12)

One of the first people to meet Jesus and recognise him was a widow called Anna. Luke’s Gospel tells us that Anna was 84 years old. She married young and was widowed after just 7 years. Since then, she had waited in the temple day after day after day, hoping to live long enough to see the one who God had promised would come. She waited for many long years to meet Jesus, longer than any of us have waited for a prayer to be answered. (Luke 2:36-38)

How did she keep hoping? How did she keep believing that Jesus would come? How did she remain convicted that God was good and that he would do what he had promised even though all the evidence said that he wasn’t and he wouldn’t? I don’t know the answer to that question.

I know many people who have given up putting their trust in God, who have felt too let down and disappointed; who have suffered real grief and been unable to find God in amongst their sorrow, who have looked at their circumstance and the world’s circumstances and felt hopeless, felt unable to put their hope in a God who seems absent, silent, detached.

Yet hope is both gift and discipline. It is an active choosing to trust; it is a reasoning with the soul, a telling of the self that God is good and that he will prove faithful. Come on, Soul, why are you so downcast? Why are you wallowing in self-pity? Put your hope in God. You can still praise him. (Psalm 42:5) You can choose to worship him even when you don’t understand. Anna kept on worshipping God even when she couldn’t see what he was doing; when she couldn’t feel his presence; when she doubted and despaired and wanted to give up the ghost.

But hope is also gift. We pray for hope. We ask that the God of hope will fill us up, that he will enlarge our faith, expand our expectations. We say, we do believe; help us to overcome our unbelief. We put our hope in the Lord and ask that he will give us the consequence of our decision to trust: “May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in you.” (Psalm 33:22)

Reflection: Father God, we confess our hopelessness to you today. We confess where we have stopped trusting you, where we have been unable to believe that you are who you say you are. We confess the times when we have been offended and disappointed and turned away from you. Give us enough hope for today. Teach us to trust you where we have forgotten to do so. Fill us with all joy and peace so that we may overflow with hope by the power of your Spirit. Amen.

No comments:

Post a comment