On New Year’s Day I was sat at the beach, looking across to this group of people, whilst I was drying off after going in the North Sea for a quick swim (very quick in fact).
They were about to get ready to go in themselves. I wondered what was going through their minds? Perhaps things like
“How cold will it be?” “I hope it won’t be freezing”.
“Why am I doing this?” “I hope I don’t get a cold!”
Or for the hardened adventurous ones: “Bring it on!”
Hoping it won’t be freezing, hoping to not get a cold.
At the turn of any new year, there are many good wishes sent between people, hoping for better times ahead. Hoping for a good year (however that might be defined), hoping that things will be better (again that can be somewhat vague in meaning), hoping that this year will be different.
Some of what gets sent out at the turn of a year, strikes me as very sentimental and largely meaningless. But many things expressed reflect a hope for the future to be different from the past.
A few comments on this.
So often as human beings we can want things to be different but then do not make any changes for it to happen. We can hope as much as we want, but let’s not be surprised that if we do not change anything, that nothing changes!
Re-read that last sentence.
One thing to do and one thing not to do in response:
DO – take time to pray and reflect on what changes you desire to see happen and what your part is in this? Take time to plan it through and involve others along the way.
DON’T – rush out and make a whole load of New Year resolutions if there is no realistic plan to go with these. You won’t keep them. (Gyms love this time of year because loads of people join up – sadly not so many stick with it).
Hope as a word usually means a may be or something wished for, when we use it in our conversations. There is not a sense of definite in it:
“I hope there won’t be a war”,
“I hope I pass the test”
“I hope that all the family will get on this Christmas”
In the Bible though, when the word hope is so often used, it is referring to something definite. Consider this verse that I quoted in the last website blog:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
The Greek word from which we get the word ‘hope’ means an expectation of what is sure/certain*
Do we believe that God is like that, as revealed through the life of Christ?
As we step into the coming weeks of 2018, what kind of hope will we embrace in our lives? One that is a ‘may be’ or a ‘wish for’ based on our circumstances? Or one that is definite based on the God of hope?
In asking such questions, I do not claim to have ‘arrived’ on this. At times I allow circumstances to dictate how I view life. That is why I am grateful for the Lord’s grace that calls me back and reminds me of who He is and the call to follow Him. A hope in God is not misplaced!
Nor do I deny that on occasions, personal circumstances or what we see in the news can seem overwhelming. Hope can be really sapped from our lives. If that is you right now, who could you open up to about this? Don’t struggle on in isolation.
In the verse above, there is not only the reminder that the Lord is the “God of hope”, but also that we can “overflow with hope” through His Holy Spirit’s power in our lives.
What might that look like in the everyday realities of our lives these coming months? Not just for us but for our families, neighbours, colleagues, friends and others that we meet?
Do these words about the God of hope encourage you?
I hope so…
*Strongs Concordance in www.biblehub.com. Greek word: elpis