I had a lovely passage as part of my daily quiet time this morning. It came from Isaiah 65;
“Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. (Isaiah 65 vs. 17 – 19)
I took some real encouragement from these words.
Yes, they are spoken to the nations of Israel and Judah and they give hope of a restoration of the restoration of the people after the exile and they reveal something about the nature of God. They also say something of how God treats us. God is forgiving, creative, re-creating and rejoices over us and, within these words, there is the promise of hope for the future.
As I thought about this, I reflected that we all need hope.
If we are ill, we hope that we get stronger
If our team does badly, we hope they will improve
If we lose our job, we hope to find a new one
If we are in a time of waiting, we hope the answer will come quickly
The problem with hope is, that it can sometimes let down. Circumstances can work against us, people fail us and some hope can prove false. We can even find ourselves in a position where we lose hope all together and feel “hope-less” and that can cause us to not live stunted lives in the present. As Henri Nouwen observed;
A man or woman without hope in the future cannot live creatively in the present
You see, it is not hope itself that is the problem, it is what we place our hope in. The words that were spoken by Isaiah are words from God. When we put our hope in the promises of God, He will not let us down or fail us, some more words from Isaiah;
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40 vs. 31)
It’s good to receive hope. I like it when I am encouraged and hopeful (or hope-filled). But, I know that many people are struggling and have lost their hope.
My reading had a bit of a sting in the tail today!
I felt that God was saying to me “yes receive hope but, what are you doing to give hope to others?”
Perhaps that is a question we all need to think about