“For surely I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.”(Jeremiah 29:11)
In Jeremiah’s letter to the Jewish people in exile, we hear God speak profound words of hope in the face of their doubt and darkness. God had not abandoned them. God did not stop loving them. The world seemed to be crashing down around them, and many were tempted to give up on forgiveness, salvation and new life. Yet, God would never give up on them. Rather than assimilating to the “realistic” outlook and ways of the world, they were invited to look to the Lord, have faith, and truly live.
No matter the generation, it is no different for us who dare to believe in God amidst our own struggles. Abraham hoped against hope; trusting that he would become “the father of many nations” just because God had promised. We are told not to be jealous or measure ourselves against others. “Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off,” Proverbs assures us. In the face of many trials and losses, Moses and his people were still shown the way to freedom. They just had to trust, seek to follow God, and walk on.
Jesus himself tells us, “Do not worry about tomorrow.” Instead, he only asks us to trust in him, follow his light, and reflect his love. He is our star of hope which no darkness – including our sin – can ever overcome. No matter our challenges, our lives are free to glorify God and rejoice, because of the hope laid up for us in heaven.
Discussion question: How can living as a people of hope shape our lives?
The above reflection was originally published in Messiah Lutheran Church and School’s worship bulletin for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, 2013. It is meant to complement Creative Communications’ Bright Star of Bethlehem series for Advent and Christmas.
Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations for this article are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) translation.
© 2013 The Rev. Louis Florio. All content not held under another’s copyright may not be used without permission of the author.