Pastor’s Ponderings, May 2020

Hoping for the Best

I cannot imagine anyone that is not “hoping” that this unprecedented time of trial due to CODIV19 will not end soon.  Likewise, we are all “hoping” that life can return to normal—the way things used to be before our world was turned upside down.  Our world has quickly and dramatically changed, perhaps forever.  For we also fear that things may never be the same again, or at least not for a very long time.  Although all of us are experiencing many of the same trials, many of us are dealing with unique and personal losses.  For example, those with a loved one in the hospital or in a care facility, are suffering terrible separation because of visitation restrictions.  Some of our older and homebound members who live alone, are suffering from isolation, being separated from their friends.  Families are struggling to work from home, and to home school their children.  Many are filled with worry regarding shortages of money, food, and perhaps even toilet paper.  I can assure you that it was never my “hope” to end my ministry preaching to a camera, and separated from those God called me to serve.  All of us are sharing in this tragedy, each with different stories, but all hurting and “hoping” for a better tomorrow that cannot come to soon.

      The Good News is that God is with us.  He knows our suffering, and through Jesus’ death and resurrection, He has given us a “living hope” that no disease or disaster can take away.  Even in such trying times we can be thankful for the “hope” that God gives us through Christ.  The Apostle Peter writes: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  By His great mercy He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5). 

      The Apostle Paul even tells us that we can “boast” in the blessing of “grace” and “hope” that we have received through Jesus’ sacrifice, and the gift of God’s Holy Spirit.  Because of Jesus Christ, even the trials we endure can make us stronger and increase our “hope.”      He writes: “Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.  And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given us” (Romans 5:1-5).

Each Easter we flower the Resurrection Cross of Hope, remembering that because of Christ’s death and resurrection, death is no longer the end of life, but the beginning of life eternal, with our Lord, and those we love but have been separated from us by death.  The “hope” we have in God’s promises is not a “wishful hope” but a “real expectation” for a better future.  When we put our “hope” in God we are “hoping for the best.”  If our hope is not in God and His promises, as revealed in His Word, then our hope is in vain.  Only the One who made us and saved us is worthy of our trust and faith.  Let us put our trust, faith, and HOPE in God.  Expect God to hear and answer prayers.  Expect God to keep His promises.  Expect God to provide grace adequate to every need.  Expect God to never give up on us, so let us never give up on Him.  Nothing can separate us from the love of Jesus Christ our Lord; not even CODIV19.  God has not abandoned us.  God is with us!  Especially in this time of trial, God is saying, “Trust in Me, trust in Me!”

I will close, quoting Paul’s blessing to the church at Rome, saying, “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 15:4). 

Your fellow servant in Christ,

Pastor Harold