In the face of unspeakable horror the Poet laments to God. A God who is, who hears, and whose faithfulness endures. Right in the middle of this sad poem we find hope that causes our spirits to soar. I have this passage of Scripture stuck on my desk. It carried me through some of the darkest moments of this year. The sweet fragrance of hope.
Emil Brunner, the Swiss theologian said: "What oxygen is to the lungs, such is hope to the meaning of life."
- Hope that causes us to stand in the darkest moments.
- Hope that comes quietly when so many voices of torment rage.
- Hope that seems so frail, and yet continuously presents as the strongest of all.
In our moments of sorrow we do not grieve like those without a hope. We have a hope for a different tomorrow. A thin, bloodstained thread of hope interweaves itself with our spiritual DNA. We look beyond the now.
"... healthy people experience a marred joy. For them, life is lived in the minor key, but with an eager anticipation of the day when the Master Musician will strike up the eternal anthem in the major key. [Larry Crabb in his book "Understanding People"]
The Poet believed God for a different future. He saw it at a distance, like the people in Hebrews 11, and realised that he was a pilgrim on life’s journey. The good news is that ultimately those who follow Christ have an "ending" that is already determined. An ending that will be truly "happy", but the price for that happy ending came through the suffering of a Saviour.
It was with a cynical mindset that I explored religion in my teen years. The claims of Christianity made me uncomfortable. There was something unique in the Gospel. In all other religions the deities demanded appeasement and sacrifice. In Christianity the Deity became the sacrifice. It is the sacrifice of Jesus – his birth, death and resurrection - that brings us hope.
The bodily resurrection of Jesus is the key. Those who negate the resurrection negate the Gospel - the Good News. They negate our story, our hope. The hope of humanity is pinned on an empty cross and an empty tomb. Jesus was the first-fruits of all who believe. We have an eternal hope in that He once and for all conquered the stranglehold of sin and death. If our hope is only in this life then we truly are to be pitied above all (see 1 Corinthians 15:19).
Jesus determined our "end" – there will be the day when the community of Christ will stand before Him, fully redeemed. This will be the time when we witness the full inauguration of the Kingdom – a time when there is no more lament.
Hope came, in the birth of the Son to bring hope to the people, waiting for so long for the stem, the root, to bring forth hope to the lost, redeemed through the long night ending, by the new covenant, the fulfilment of the ancient prophesy, the new covenant made real in the person, the flesh, the birthing of the Saviour; to finish the lament, the dark judgment of Amos, the wheel of Ezekiel, the doubt of Eli, the offering of Samuel, the hopeful vision of Jeremiah All bound up in the one man. Jesus!
[By Raymond A. Foss]
[Guest post by Nicole Conner]