HOPE AND A FUTURE (Shirley Chacko Arlington )

sponsored advertisements

sponsored advertisements

sponsored advertisements

15 November 2022

HOPE AND A FUTURE (Shirley Chacko Arlington )

Shirley Chacko Arlington

Charles Swindoll once said; “HOPE is a wonderful gift from God, a source of strength and courage in the face of life’s harshest trials. HOPE is important to us as water is to a fish……as vital as electricity is to a light bulb……as essential as air is to a bird…….HOPE AGAIN when life hurts and dreams fade.”

Let’s be honest. Life is difficult and painful all around us. People are dying every day. We are constantly posting condolence messages on social media. Inflation hits 30 years high. Year over year, things cost 8.2% more this year than last year, and the steepest increases were for food and energy. Gas prices skyrocketed and keep us contemplating whether it’s worth the drive.

Economists have agreed that the current inflation rate is attributed to the pandemic and its aftermath: reluctant workers, people laid off because they refused to take the Covid shots, shortages and interrupted energy deliveries. People continue to stay on unemployment and fear has hiked up in their hearts.

People have lost HOPE and are angry. Anger can become sinful when motivated by pride (James 1:20) or allowed to linger (Ephesians 4:26-27), and is unproductive and distorts the purposes of God (I Corinthians 10:31). We see that Ephesians 4:15-19 helps Christians understand they are to speak the truth in love to build one another up, not use their speech to tear one another down. Anger becomes sin when it is allowed to boil over unrestrained, resulting in hurt being multiplied and destroying relationships.

But there is good news for those who are Christians. Why is hope so important? The Christian hopes in the assured presence of God who hears when they call, knowing that reconciliation has been secured by Christ’s blood. God’s continual presence is a living stream that pours into the life of the believer (Psalm 1). This gives us hope because we are never alone.

Psalm 130 is so notable. The title says it all: My Soul Waits for the Lord. Here, we find five clear reasons Christians have to hope in the Lord today and for the future.

In verses 1 and 2 we read “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord! O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy!” In Christ, God has paved the way for sinners lost in darkness to have access to him once again. And not only access, but rich fellowship! The Christian whose heart has been made new sees his or her need for salvation, sees the depths and hatred of sin, and knows that he or she brings nothing to the table. Hope because God hears us.

In verses 3-4 we read, “If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared” (vv. 3-4). The psalmist’s realization of his corruption in this verse is so helpful for us. He sees God’s glory and, therefore, also sees that he cannot possibly stand before a perfect God apart from God making a way for him. He has extended his mercy to those who put their faith in Christ, pouring out his just wrath on his Son, instead of on us. We have reason to hope because God has offered us forgiveness in Christ and, therefore, has declared us righteous. Hope because God has mercy on us.

In verse 5 of Psalm 130 we read, “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word, I hope” (v. 5). God’s living and active word is a miracle! We do not have to wait to hear from him during chaotic times because all you need is to open your Bible. The Word of God is our resource and the sword of the Spirit. Hope because God gives you all you need to live wisely, to be enriched, and to be equipped on a daily basis. Hope because God speaks to us.

In verse 6 we read: “My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning” A watchman is simply “a person who keeps watch,” and in Old Testament times, this person would be assigned to watch over a portion of land from a high city wall. It was their job to spot intruders and guard against invasion. Christians hope for the “morning,” the day when Christ will come on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory to establish the new heavens and the new earth. The Psalm instructs us to be watchful for this day, not to sit back, be depressed or get distracted by the world. We are to be actively engaged in waiting, which means we are on guard against the power of sin at work in the world and in our own flesh. We hope because we know what is coming in Christ’s glorious return! Hope because God will return for us.

In verses 7- 8 we read: “O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities” (vv. 7-8). Our battle against sin and our status in this world can be discouraging realities. But Christians place their hope in God to be set apart, growing in our Christian life, through to the very end, to completion. The world is not our final stop, we are just passing through. Hope because God will finish the work, he began in us.

I believe one of the greatest gifts God has given us is hope. After all, that is what his promises are designed to do – inspire hope. It gives us the ability to look at any situation and know that regardless of how it may appear God is going to come through. This is the essence of what hope is.

However, if you are honest, the challenges of life can sometimes seem overwhelming. I know because I have faced those challenges just like you have. When these challenges attack, the thing they often come after is your hope. They try to move you from hope to despair, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Let us stand tall encouraged by the hope that dwells within us. We don’t want to just know what hope is, let us walk in the victory that comes from hope.