For many days of 2020, the world has awoken to news just as surprising as seeing dollar bills growing on trees or Porky the Pig in the clouds. For some, the past few days have been no exception. This year has given space for innumerable situations not to go as planned or as hoped. Teaching, weddings, shopping, birthdays, even browsing on social media – none of it has been the same since COVID.
Nothing about a virus or people getting sick or dying is good. But being thrown out of ordinary circumstances? Not having things go your way? This can be good IF we let it.
These past few months, when my day doesn’t go as planned, when I get news that shocks me, when I hear that someone else got an opportunity that I passed up, I’m upset. That’s normal. But then when it’s time to move on, and I can’t, I have to ask myself, “Where is your hope?”
Is it in your circumstances?
Is it in your health?
Is it in your government?
Often, mine is in the tasks I (do or don’t) accomplish that day. Other times it’s in a person or my job. None of these things are intrinsically bad; however, my view of them and the values I place on them can be detrimental. Tasks may or may not get done. Loved ones may or may not say the right thing. Friends may misunderstand me. Bosses may overlook me. Leaders may not pass fair policies.
None of these entities are 100% stable. And when I place my hope in them, neither am I.
If my hope is in my job, what happens when I lose it?
If my hope is in my friendship with XYorZ, what happens when it changes?
If my hope is in my appearance, what happens when I gain weight?
If my hope is in my to-do list, what happens when it doesn’t get done?
If my hope is in my candidate, what happens when he loses?
These are the things that have the power to send us reeling if we let them. And granted, some of these—like the person to govern our nation for the next four years—have more gravity than others. Some things take more than a day or two to digest. If your chosen candidate lost, grieve. Lament. Pray. If your chosen candidate won, celebrate. Thank God for it. But either way, eventually ask yourself: “Where is my hope?”
A few weeks ago, I was feeling overwhelmed and was led to this verse in the Bible. It says:
Happy is he that [has] the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:Psalm 146:5
I didn’t feel particularly happy in the moment, but according to Strong’s concordance, happy here also means “blessed,” which is true no matter how I feel. “Hope” in this context means “expectation,” with its root implying “watching with hope and patience.” So I understood this verse to mean, “Blessed is he that has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope and expectation is in the LORD his God, whom he watches with hope and patience.”
The verses that follow this one continue by proclaiming who God is and what He does:
6 Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which [keeps] truth forever:
7 Which [executes] judgment (a verdict, justice) for the oppressed: which [gives] food to the hungry. The Lord [looses] the prisoners:
8 The Lord [opens] the eyes of the blind: the Lord [raises] them that are bowed down: the Lord [loves] the righteous:
9 The Lord [preserves] the strangers; he [relieves] the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he [turns] upside down.Psalm 146:6-9
THIS is the kingdom we’re after. This is what the Lord wants for us and our nation. And this is what we should work towards, at His leading and by His Spirit.
The person in the Oval Office will undoubtedly affect millions, and even billions, of people–you and I included. The Coronavirus has already affected billions too, and I’m sure you’re not excluded from that either. Certain factors are beyond our control, which can leave us feeling hopeless and powerless. This is when we have to remind ourselves where our hope comes from in the first place. It will sound trite to some, but there is profound power in reminding ourselves of who God is and meditating on His attributes. And there’s a lot of hope in remembering what His kingdom stands for and how He wants to work with us to bring it to earth.
Even if your candidate won, even if you haven’t lost your job because of COVID, even if you finished everything on your to-do list today, I encourage you to examine where you’re looking for hope and to join me in praying that Psalm 130:5 is true for both us:
“I wait for the Lord, my soul [does] wait, and in his word do I hope.”
Praise God that those who look to Him will never be ashamed, that His kingdom cannot be shaken, and that He holds ALL things together.
Extra Resources on Hope:
“O’ Lord” by Lauren Daigle