The first candle we light this week for Advent is the Hope Candle. Sometimes hope can feel like that fragile flame, flickering, on the verge of being blown out by the windy conditions that surround it. But here’s the thing about Biblical hope, it isn’t based on the wind that blows, sometimes so hard that you just know it’s going to blow that light out, it’s based on a God who doesn’t change and never dims or disappears. Some days it’s a hard fought battle to remind myself of this.
I read this today as I was reminding myself of what hope really is,
Hope is the confident expectation, the sure certainty that what God has promised in the Word is true, has occurred, and or will in accordance with God’s sure Word.
In other words, a biblical hope is not an escape from reality or from problems. It doesn’t leave us idle, drifting or just rocking on the front porch. If our hope is biblical and based on God’s promises, it will put us in gear.
A young woman who held our son when he was only days old, was a part of his Entrustment ceremony, and was a part of his birth moms family tragically died recently. I only found out yesterday and my heart is so heavy as a result. The loss of a beautiful woman, a family left grieving. I find myself staring at the picture of her cradling our son, looking adoringly at him and knowing that she’ll never hold her own that way. It may seem odd to many that I feel her loss deeply. I hardly knew her that well after all. But she was a part of some of the most emotional and moving moments of our lives, even if it were only 3 or 4 visits with her. Those moments are seared in our hearts and minds. Where is hope for a grieving family this Christmas?
Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, so your faith and hope are in God. 1 Peter 1:21
When calamity comes, the wicked are brought down, but even in death the righteous have a refuge. Prov. 14:32
In my own immediate family I’m left to wonder about my own sibling. Where will he be this Christmas? When and how will the pleading and prayers be answered?
As I ponder hope and life’s hardships and process through the pain (because that’s the healthy thing to do) I’m reminded of the sweetness of life but also the bitterness. Our hope is not found in mankind, circumstances, or in any other thing in the universe but “we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe” (1 Tim 4:10) because “Jesus Christ is our hope” (1 Tim 1:1).
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
Real hope is knowing that God came in the innocence of a child, was powerful enough to conquer death, and truly is Immanuel (God with us). He is with us. And nothing can dim that light.