One of the things I’m pondering at the moment in our complex world is hope.
Jesus Messiah by Chris Tomlin is a long-term favourite song of mine. It’s where my heart often goes when I feel overwhelmed with all the stuff of life, the responsibilities, the concerns, the various scenarios that go round my head. I realise that my heart goes to this song in particular because the words are about Him, about Jesus, and not about me. They’re not words that I have to ‘inhabit’ somehow, emotions or sentiments that I need to relate to or ‘own’, in order to experience the power of the song. Rather, they’re about Jesus. Just that. The truth that is Him. And so, because of that, I can find and feel the hope that He brings, regardless of the challenges in my own head and life.
‘Jesus Messiah: Name above all names, Blessed Redeemer, Emmanuel, the rescue for sinners, the ransom from Heaven, Jesus Messiah: Lord of all.’
A few years ago, we had a New Year service at church that I sobbed and sobbed through, so much so that I went to hide in the kitchen. I’d realised, as I sat before God with an open heart and looked into the next few months, that there were some really big things in store for me and the people I loved that filled me with hopelessness. I couldn’t see anything positive, or delicious, or fruitful -just a long list of potential sorrows and things needing to be done.
But, as I sang the words of Jesus Messiah (from the kitchen!), I realised just that: all my hope is in Him - in Him alone - because of Him and who He is, and not because of me. And that’s why it was secure enough to hold me whatever came.
‘All our hope is in You. All our hope is in You. All the glory to you God. The Light of the world.’ This is the line that really ‘gets’ me and echoes round and round as I chew over what life with Jesus looks like.
Sometimes I think that we sing these kinds of things about God and about our faith in God, or we speak it out in so many different ways. We say that He is the centre and the purpose and very life itself. But I wonder afresh today whether the warp and weave and daily details of our lives really are centred utterly on Him. Sometimes mine aren’t. I get distracted by the seemingly overwhelming circumstances in any given moment. But I also know that I want to ‘recapture’ and hold on to that place where I read of God and His Word, where I fill my mind with Him and align my heart with His heartbeat, where I truly experience God. Otherwise, life can feel a bit like just being tossed back and forth at the mercy of every joy or sorrow, every temporary ‘up’ and every superficial but discouraging ‘down’.
The very best of news, every day, is that we can experience Him. He is ever present and ready to respond to the cry of our hearts. He loves us unconditionally and loves us to turn to Him in our need. Here’s the prayer and the promise as we cry out to God: ‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit’ (Romans 15:13). Wow! Thank You Lord.
Prayer: Dear Lord God, I so don’t want to be bounced around by ‘earthly’ highs and lows. I want my heart to be fixed on you. I know that that’s the only place for hope. Please help me live with you in the detail of my life. Please help me afresh today to put my hope in You, not only for eternity, but for the present moment. Thank You so much. Amen.
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