Why are you cast down, O my soul,
And why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
My salvation and my God. (Psalm 42:5)
The psalmist was having a conversation with himself! And this wasn’t the first time! It is okay to talk to oneself because it helps one to think with greater clarity and gives an opportunity to reaffirm one’s commitment to God. This is exactly what the psalmist was doing!
God has been teaching me this lesson on hope once again. What does it mean to hope in the Lord especially during these very uncertain times? I have been pondering over this word hope and why it is central for the Christian. We hope for many things in life but the kind of hope we are familiar with is a sort of wishful hope – hope that something good will turn out or hope that a possible negative outcome will not happen. As I look into the Scriptures, I am reminded again of this amazing truth – that hope in God is sure. Hope in God implies confidence, that despite the odds, ultimately good will result from it, good even in the most difficult situation, because our God is good all the time!
Recently, one of my former students turned 50. One of the ways he celebrated his golden birthday was to take half a day to recount the Lord’s blessings. He decided to think of 50 reasons to give thanks to God for his life! He listed these, two of which were his call to saving faith in Jesus Christ and his call to missions. I was deeply moved as I read his prayer letter! I know him very well and I know that he faced many challenges before, during, and after his time in the Singapore Bible College. This man had great hope in God and he held on to him tenaciously through thick and thin.
As I recount the goodness of the Lord in my own life these many decades, I too have many reasons to give thanks to God and to continue to put my trust in Him and to hope always in Him, come what may. Here are a few reasons:
- He is good and is making something beautiful out of my life as he promised – I am his workmanship, created in Christ for good works…. ( Ephesians 2:10)
- He is good because he said that all things work together for good to those who love him (Romans 8:28)
- He is good and he calls me to be strong and wait upon him (Psalm 27:14)
- He is good because he quiets me with his love many times and nestles me in his tender and loving arms (Zephaniah 3:17; Psalm 131:2)
- He is good and he calls me to hope in him again and wait for the Lord (Psalms 42:5 & 43:5).
- He is good as he gives me rest and confidence, even when I cannot see what lies before me… (Psalm 62:5-8).
Let’s take some time today to sit quietly before the Lord and recount the many blessings he has bestowed upon you and your family and give thanks to him. And once again place your trust and hope in this God who never changes and is always true to himself!
May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)
By Sister Violet James (YCKC Bulletin 6 September 2020)