This year has not had an auspicious start. The news has been hijacked by stories of misery, death and destruction on a global scale. We have seen desolation and despair etched on the faces of young and old, black and white, rich and poor.
Political unrest seems to the order of the day in many places where corruption and brutality have ruined the lives of millions.
Yet, amidst all this gloom and doom, we are privileged to see glimpses of courage and heroism. These selfless acts remind us that Christ’s words still apply today even though we live in a world that increasingly questions the relevance of Christianity.
Jesus tells us that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13)
As humans, we are inherently self-serving and these acts of heroism do not happen by chance. God is always seeking opportunities to work through the lives of those He created.
Hope is born out of a belief that there can be something better ahead. We look to someone or something to rescue us.
Since the beginning of time, mankind has failed miserably in this regard. War and conflict has always been fueled by man’s desire for power and control. Our ability to put the needs of others before ourselves is a gift of God and not the result of any inherent goodness on the part of mankind.
So where do we look for hope amidst the gloom of despair?
When Job was beset by problems that would seem insurmountable even to the most optimistic person, he asked God a question. “Where then is my hope? Can anyone find it?”
David asked a similar question but provided an answer in Psalm 39:7, “And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.”
In the midst of his sorrow over the downfall of Jerusalem, Jeremiah gives a reason for this hope: “Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.”
Are you feeling less than optimistic as you consider what lies ahead? Are you looking for direction amidst the clamour of conflicting opinions?
Paul has these encouraging words for us in Romans 15:13, “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Ian Cotton is the pastor at the Creston Seventh-day Adventist Church.