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Finding Hope When Things Aren't As They Should Be

Updated: Nov 29, 2022

Christmas lists and Black Friday sales. Peanut butter and jam.

Some things just go together.

My kids wrote down Christmas gift ideas, a task that reveals a few secrets of their personality. My oldest daughter is practical, asking for lessons for something new, or items she needs for sports. My son only lists one thing, to make sure that he gets it. My youngest scribbles every item her friend has that she wants - a much longer list to be sure.

Each hoping to get what they ask for.

The year is winding down, we're getting busy making plans and preparations for different events. As we enter the first week of advent, what are you hoping for this season?

Perhaps you're feeling overwhelmed and you're looking for peace in the busyness. Or in all the planning you want to build family memories. There might be conflict and it's a restored relationship that's on your heart. Strength to persevere through difficulties, or you're just waiting for a tough year to be over and an opportunity to start new.

There are pieces of our life's puzzle we want to fit together neatly, but they're still scattered. We long for things to be different. We even strive toward this end.

Yearning for things to be made right is the hub of our Christian hope. We look around and easily see all that's not as it ought to be.

The Gospel reminds us why this is. A good creation, tempted to hunger for more than was already graciously given, chose disobedience causing sin to make its appearance.

Things are not as they should be.

But we know God's steadfast love would not be thwarted. We cannot undo God's good creation. For in His providence He gave His Son for us, to live a fully human life and take the punishment for our sin. This good news we celebrate wholeheartedly this season, because, for the Christian, our sin is not the last, nor the most important thing about us - the Gospel is.

The remembrance of Jesus' first coming points us toward His second coming, when He returns and makes all things new again. This is our joyful expectation and our assurance - He is working, even now, in our lives toward this end, renewing our minds and restoring our hearts. God is sustaining and providing for His creation, even as things go awry around us.

So we don't hope aimlessly or ignorantly, we do so with faith, because "faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Heb 11:1). It doesn't mean everything we hope for will be satisfied, or that if we only pray for one thing it will happen, it's about clinging to faith in who God is and what He is doing in the world, even as things don't make sense.

As we pray fervently for and surrender our hopes to the Lord this season,"may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope" (Rom 15:13).

Faith and hope.

Some things just go together.

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