Yes, in spite of yesterday’s events, I have kept this as my message for today.
The 12 days of Christmas are now behind us. In one week we should know what is next for us in Michigan regarding the pandemic. In two weeks we should have a new president. In six weeks we will be in the season of Lent. Twenty-six weeks from now I anticipate the vaccine will be available to all of us. Fifty-two weeks from now we will be in 2022!
The New Year traditionally is a time of renewed hope for the future … and when you add to this the fact that we, the people of God in Christ Jesus, have been called into a sure, certain, and eternal hope … this seems like a great day to simply relish in some rock-solid words of hope from our God and Savior. Probably all the more so because of yesterday’s events.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering,
for he who promises is faithful.
After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace,
who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
(1 Peter 5.10)
.They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare
and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
(1 Peter 1.13)
We remember before our God and Father your work of faith
and your labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Thessalonians 1.3)
In this hope we are saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope.
For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see,
we wait for it patiently. Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. … and we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,
for those who are called according to his purpose.
As you savor these hope-renewing words, allow me to share with you two (worldly) hope-filled conversations I had yesterday while writing this. The first was from a relative whose mother was called home overnight. Their lead pastor has COVID and the associate is waiting for test results – they were investigating my availability to drive north on Saturday and conduct the funeral. As that phone call was ending another line was ringing. This was from a local bride looking for someone to conduct a marriage ceremony in the next 18 days (before the license expires) – apparently, she has the groom all lined up, but was just remembering another need! Suddenly I am booked as a Saturday afternoon alternate and a Monday morning officiate.
So, now I am thinking more about the week immediately in front of me … what will be happening in my life before our governor speaks. As I do so, I am reminded of one more promise. “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares or you.” (1 Peter 5.6-7) Now that I think about it, these are pretty good words for all of us to consider as we enter this happy new year … because events in our nation – good or bad – will never be able to challenge God’s truth or promises