Hi everyone. Rob here.
Have you ever noticed that it rains the hardest at the edge of the storm, just before it passes? The hill is steepest just before the summit. You all know the cliché, “It’s always darkest just before the dawn.” Those sayings seem very true right now. The infection rate and death rate of Covid-19 is higher than ever just as the hope brought by working vaccines comes to us. In America there was chaos as violent mobs descended upon Capitol Hill just days before the inauguration of a new administration. Democracy was assaulted just before a demonstration of democracy in action. The darkness of the cross was soon followed by the reality of resurrection. In other words, there is always hope and it’s closer than you think.
This is why in Romans 5:1-5, Paul puts hope as the final step in a longer process:
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Hope doesn’t happen without character. Why is that? I think it’s because hope is a conscious choice to agree with the eternal purposes of God. That doesn’t happen by accident. It comes from constantly aligning yourself with faith and trust in the goodness of God. It means resisting the temptation to make agreements with despair and hopelessness and cynicism. Cynicism is easy. There are 101 reasons to be cynical on any given day but God is the only reason to have hope and that is enough reason for me.
When you are aligned with God through faith and trust you learn to see how God comes through for us every time. I was speaking at a camp recently and while I was in that beautiful spot I took the opportunity to do some star gazing. As I was doing so many of my failures and bad decisions came to mind. Instantly God was there saying, “and I saved you every time didn’t I?” I had to agree. He had. By that I don’t mean that he saved me from the consequences of those decisions but, instead, he kept calling me back to himself and making a way forward for me. He was always the source of hope in every trial and every setback. The key, of course, is to keep presenting ourselves to him, to die to our own agenda and to let him work in and around us so that his will may be done.
So as we reach this stage of the pandemic, as all around us seems to be in chaos, know that God makes order out of chaos. He redeems and restores what was stolen and what was lost. He makes all things new when the old just doesn’t work anymore. He loves us with an everlasting love when relationships seem fragile and fickle. He is the God of life even when the powers of death scream at their loudest. And keep your eyes open. There is hope and it might be just around the corner.
Grace and peace everyone.