Anchoring Our Hope In The Loving Kindness Of Jesus

This world is filled with uncertainty. Biblical hope is certain. We place our hope in the loving kindness of Jesus who is always with us.

Anchoring Our Hope In The Loving Kindness Of Jesus

December 2, 2021

Will we ever return to normal? 

It’s a question we hear a lot lately. Personally, I’ve begun to categorize my life’s experiences as pre-COVID or post-COVID. Pre-COVID days felt less stressful, less uncertain, and definitely more hopeful. 

I know COVID will always be with us. But just as we seem to figure out how to live with it, a new variant shakes us up again, leaving us uncertain, more stressed, and for me, less hopeful for the future.

This week I reread Psalm 42, an eloquent expression of hope in the face of deep heartache. The author of the psalm can’t be verified, although many Biblical scholars attribute it to David. They believe it describes a time when rebellious Absalom drove his father, King David, out of Jerusalem. As David and his people left Jerusalem, they wept (2 Samuel 15:10-30). 

This psalm fittingly describes the inner conflict of a faithful person who, because of troubling circumstances, has begun to lose heart. I can relate to the psalmist’s struggle on so many levels:

Mourning over a change in worship: Driven north of Jerusalem, David and his companions were forced to worship on a little mountain (or hill) rather than at the temple (Psalm 42:2, 6). Although God is everywhere, the temple held a special significance for the Jewish people. In the same way, we can worship the Lord anywhere. But for months COVID prevented us from worshiping together in our church buildings. Although I appreciate technology and our ability to worship virtually, I missed in-person fellowship. Even though we now physically meet together, each new COVID variant carries possibilities of new lockdowns.

Remembering happier times: The psalmist remembered past happiness with longing (Psalm 42:4). In the same way, I’ve wished to go back to pre-COVID days. Days when a sore throat or a simple cough didn’t sound alarms. When I didn’t have to wonder if I should don a mask. Or when I didn’t have to worry about losing loved ones to COVID. 

Hearing the taunts of others: As David and his friends left Jerusalem, shouts from the crowd hurled doubts at them, “‘Where is your God?’” (Psalm 42:3 NIV) COVID has created so much division- even among close friends and family members. The taunting doubts I hear are often inside my own head. I’ve wondered: Where is God in all of this? Why hasn’t He rescued us from this trial? How much longer do we need to endure?

Drowning in the continuous waves of trials: The psalmist likened his distress to the drowning sensation caused when waves and breakers sweep over us (Psalm 42:7). In an earlier blog post, I describe how so many of us have recently felt this way. Along with the stresses of everyday life, we need to deal with COVID and its side effects ~ isolation, school closures, loss of businesses, and the like.

Perhaps the most distressing of all, the psalmist felt the internal conflict of how a person of faith can succumb to doubting God, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?” (Psalm 42:5a NIV) 

I’ve felt it too. The tension between wanting to trust God in all circumstances, yet struggling to understand why He allows us to experience troublesome times. 

Fortunately, the psalmist wrestled until he chose to hope, “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:5b NIV).

I noticed the psalmist didn’t hope for a change in circumstances. Hope for things in this world always carries uncertainty. But Biblical hope is certain. We put our hope in our relationship with the Lord:

By day the Lord directs his love,
     at night his song is with me—
     a prayer to the God of my life. (Psalm 42:8 NIV)

The Lord is always with us, day and night. We can rest secure in the presence of His loving kindness because He remains sovereign over our lives

December marks my favorite time of the year. Christmastime always reminds me of the hope we have in Jesus. Life may still be COVID-crazy for a while. But Jesus reminds us, “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 NIV).

Wherever the holiday season takes me, I pray to keep my hope nestled in the loving kindness of Jesus. Wherever your travels take you, I pray you can do the same. 

 

Anchoring Our Hope In The Loving Kindness Of Jesus

December 2, 2021

This world is filled with uncertainty. Biblical hope is certain. We place our hope in the loving kindness of Jesus who is always with us.

Will we ever return to normal? 

It’s a question we hear a lot lately. Personally, I’ve begun to categorize my life’s experiences as pre-COVID or post-COVID. Pre-COVID days felt less stressful, less uncertain, and definitely more hopeful. 

I know COVID will always be with us. But just as we seem to figure out how to live with it, a new variant shakes us up again, leaving us uncertain, more stressed, and for me, less hopeful for the future.

This week I reread Psalm 42, an eloquent expression of hope in the face of deep heartache. The author of the psalm can’t be verified, although many Biblical scholars attribute it to David. They believe it describes a time when rebellious Absalom drove his father, King David, out of Jerusalem. As David and his people left Jerusalem, they wept (2 Samuel 15:10-30). 

This psalm fittingly describes the inner conflict of a faithful person who, because of troubling circumstances, has begun to lose heart. I can relate to the psalmist’s struggle on so many levels:

Mourning over a change in worship: Driven north of Jerusalem, David and his companions were forced to worship on a little mountain (or hill) rather than at the temple (Psalm 42:2, 6). Although God is everywhere, the temple held a special significance for the Jewish people. In the same way, we can worship the Lord anywhere. But for months COVID prevented us from worshiping together in our church buildings. Although I appreciate technology and our ability to worship virtually, I missed in-person fellowship. Even though we now physically meet together, each new COVID variant carries possibilities of new lockdowns.

Remembering happier times: The psalmist remembered past happiness with longing (Psalm 42:4). In the same way, I’ve wished to go back to pre-COVID days. Days when a sore throat or a simple cough didn’t sound alarms. When I didn’t have to wonder if I should don a mask. Or when I didn’t have to worry about losing loved ones to COVID. 

Hearing the taunts of others: As David and his friends left Jerusalem, shouts from the crowd hurled doubts at them, “‘Where is your God?’” (Psalm 42:3 NIV) COVID has created so much division- even among close friends and family members. The taunting doubts I hear are often inside my own head. I’ve wondered: Where is God in all of this? Why hasn’t He rescued us from this trial? How much longer do we need to endure?

Drowning in the continuous waves of trials: The psalmist likened his distress to the drowning sensation caused when waves and breakers sweep over us (Psalm 42:7). In an earlier blog post, I describe how so many of us have recently felt this way. Along with the stresses of everyday life, we need to deal with COVID and its side effects ~ isolation, school closures, loss of businesses, and the like.

Perhaps the most distressing of all, the psalmist felt the internal conflict of how a person of faith can succumb to doubting God, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?” (Psalm 42:5a NIV) 

I’ve felt it too. The tension between wanting to trust God in all circumstances, yet struggling to understand why He allows us to experience troublesome times. 

Fortunately, the psalmist wrestled until he chose to hope, “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:5b NIV).

I noticed the psalmist didn’t hope for a change in circumstances. Hope for things in this world always carries uncertainty. But Biblical hope is certain. We put our hope in our relationship with the Lord:

By day the Lord directs his love,
     at night his song is with me—
     a prayer to the God of my life. (Psalm 42:8 NIV)

The Lord is always with us, day and night. We can rest secure in the presence of His loving kindness because He remains sovereign over our lives

December marks my favorite time of the year. Christmastime always reminds me of the hope we have in Jesus. Life may still be COVID-crazy for a while. But Jesus reminds us, “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 NIV).

Wherever the holiday season takes me, I pray to keep my hope nestled in the loving kindness of Jesus. Wherever your travels take you, I pray you can do the same. 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Teresa on December 3, 2021 at 7:21 AM

    Shirley,
    Thanks for this today we need to keep having that hope that only the Lord provides for us. It is very easy to get discouraged with all that is going on in this world. So I am glad that my hope is in the Lord.

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on December 3, 2021 at 5:51 PM

      AMEN! I’m so grateful our hope can be anchored in Him. 💕

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