16 Apr Possessing Hope In Bleak Situation
Today on weekend devotion, we’re going to talk about a simple word which is so much needed in the world right now, i.e “hope”. Now, as human beings, we are created with the intrinsic need for hope. We are not like animals, who live just for survival, for food, for reproduction. No! But we are being created gloriously with a consciousness of time. And being conscious of time, we can never be truly satisfied with the here and now. Even if we could enjoy what we’re doing now, there must be a hope – either a hope for a better outcome, or a brighter future, or at least the end of a trouble. And this is the whole point of living, isn’t it?
Students hope for graduation. Couples in love puts their hope in marriage. A hardworking person puts his hope in reaping the fruits of his labour. Even old people pin their hopes on their children, hoping they could do better.
As it is, the joy of our existence doesn’t lie in existing, but to hope and keeping hoping for a better future. And even right now, what is the World hoping for? The World is hoping for the end of the current pandemic. And that hope is driving everyone to play their part now. That hope is driving the world leaders, doctors and scientists to work day and night for solutions. And for commoners, they are putting their hopes on these leaders, or at least hoping for the end of the lock down soon. Everyone is living with the imagination or at least with the intention to see some possible positive outcomes. No one can live without a hope of a better outcome. Everyone wants to hear things, or news that give us hope. That is something intrinsic in us.
And that is why when Israel was brought into captivity for 70 years for the sins of idolatry, God knew what will “annihilate” them is not the sword and armies of the Babylonians, what will destroy them is hopelessness. Yes, that thought of being oppressed by the enemies. The thought of their nation being colonized, their own family, wives and children being treated like exiles, and generation after generation to live in fear and deprivation. I mean, what hope can there be if this is going to be the mentality of the whole nation?
So God sent them the prophet Jeremiah to give them a message of hope. And this is what Jeremiah said <Jer 29:11-14>: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
And praise God that HE promised an end to that suffering.
Now, I want all of us to know although we’re in a different situation today, we are not in exile, but we are facing a worldwide pandemic. With no clear understanding of the virus, with no vaccines developed, with world leaders scramble to save their economy, and death toll went up by tens of thousands, the world is at a loss. But God did not hold back on the message of hope. And God is giving hope to His people. God in His own words, he is effectively saying, “even in this trial which I have designed, which I have ordained, I have plans to give you hope and a future. This trial is not meant to subject you to fear and apprehension, like the world does.
“But what hope can there be? What hope can there be in this situation?” You may ask. Now, my brethren. Do you know why the world couldn’t see hope in this bleak situation? Because they are only putting their hopes on chances – on the chances that things may get better, or for vaccines may be found. At best, they’re only putting their hopes on mere man like us. But they are not putting their hope in God who is merciful, who is full of compassionate, and who does all things good.
Now, I am without a doubt that the pandemic will end. God will not destroy the world this way, God will not destroy yours and my life this way. But God will take away things in our lives that hinders us from going to Him. God will take away the idols in our lives that has subjected us to slavery all these while. God will take away our love for money, our trust in earthly prosperity and security. God will take away our selfish desires which causes us to pursue every dream in this world, and neglect the more important thing in this life, such as our loved ones. And God will put in us a new heart that comes through repentance… And then God says, with that new heart, you will then call upon me and pray to me. You will seek me with everything in you. And I will listen to you, and I will be found by you.
Now, my dear brethren, if you were to hope, what are you hoping for now? Are you hoping for a same normal which you had before the pandemic? If that is your hope, then you are in for a disappointment. But if your hope is in God who is doing a renewal in your life, then you will come to see that hope materialize.
Hope is not just yearning for a positive feeling, my brethren. True hope is not desiring something that God has not intended. True hope is knowing exactly what God is doing, and embracing it with faith even though the process can be trying. And I pray that we as the church of God will be thoroughly sanctified and glorified as we put our hope in God.