Sunday, November 30, 2008

we will yet praise Him

Purple banners adorned the sanctuary. The wreathes on the wall mimicked the greens which had been placed next to the podium. Its purple candles mirrored the new banner at the front of the sanctuary declaring this season's theme: "Hope for the expectant heart." I shared a meditation that had been reworked for this very occasion. After sharing the story of a young couple who desperately wanted children, and reminding the congregation how we wait for the day that Jesus will return with expectant hope much like this couple who was waiting for their promised child, I quietly took my seat among the congregation.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about hope in preparation for this advent season. I am struck by the way it changes our lives. When all hope dissipates from within us, when the supply is depleted, when all is dissolved and nothing remains, life is empty. Those are the darkest days for me. The days I question my purpose, my reality, and God's existence. The days I would sooner give up than fight. But, when just a little hope creeps its way back into the cracks of my heart, it is then that I am able to take one more step and move a little closer to victory.

Hope is this marvelous thing that is granted to those who believe that God is true to His word. It is a beautiful assurance that God is doing something and has not left us to ourselves. It is a confidence that is willing to trust in the darkest night that there will yet be light. The words of the Psalmist echo in my mind "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." I will yet praise Him! No matter what the circumstances that surround me, I will yet praise Him! Rest, oh weary soul. Worry not about the troubles that you find yourself in. For we will yet praise Him, our Savior and our God!

Holding a small child, they approached the advent wreath. With one arm he held this most amazing gift. With the other, he lit the first advent candle of the season. Then his wife began to read one of the most amazing prayers I have heard in a long time. It was one of strength and honesty. Courage and love. It was a prayer that revealed their struggle to believe in the darkest night, and yet one that brought the Lord tremendous glory as their hope turned to reality. Their little one a precious gift, a kingdom response, to their desire to have a child.

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1 comment:

  1. What a coincidence! I've been learning about hope lately, too ;)

    Today as i waved goodbye to my student i told her, "i hope you have a good rest of the day."
    It hit me just after saying it that there is something different in that kind of hope. I'm not telling her, "I have confidence that the rest of your day will be good", i'm saying, "I wish that the rest of your day would be good." I think i know whats missing...expectancy.

    I remember a story i recently read in Luke 2. The story of an expectant man named Simeon. Simeon waited for the messiah with such hope. He knew he would see the Savior before he died. Hope rings through his words just after his expectant hope has been fulfilled. He says in verses 29-30, "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation..." This kind of hope brings a light in the eyes and a bounce to the heart. It is the result of a trusting soul.