Last night I dreamt I was at an airport, en-route somewhere! Before going to the plane, I had to find the office where they gave the authorization to proceed. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t find the way.
Do you ever have dreams that leave you distressed and highly anxious?
If so, you will understand the confusion of my dream when the airport metamorphosed into strange tunnels and detours that suddenly popped out of nowhere while faceless people frantically rushed about. When I finally arrived at the right spot, I had to face the truth I had known all along – I’d left my luggage and my passport in the hotel.
Wakening, still in that twilight zone, my heart pounding, I tried to figure how to fix things. The Lord whispered, “Fear not, I am here. You are safe.”
I took a deep breath. “I am safe.” Muscles relaxed. “Jesus is my way. I do not need to fear.” Relieved, I whispered, “Jesus, You are my Hope. Not officials. Not finding the right direction. Not doing the right thing at the right time. Not my ingenuity or abilities. Jesus is my only Hope.”
Love & Hope Are Intertwined
Here’s the big secret in the search through the maze of life.
God is LOVE. The second candle on the Advent wreath is love. Jesus, who is God, is LOVE. But, Jesus is also HOPE! Without Love, there can be no Hope. Without hope, there is no active love.
We live in tumultuous, insecure days. Often the words “end days” are on people’s lips. A number of my non-church friends have used the word “apocalyptic” as they try to describe what the earth is moving towards.
The problem is, confronted by the darkness, like misplaced luggage, we’ve lost Love and Hope. Lockdowns, loss of loved ones, a complete altering of society and life as we knew it, has left us floundering, gasping for air in a struggle against an invisible enemy that saps the life from us.
Fear grips us. Our hope assaulted – either buried or elevated to fantasy levels, we turn from Love, to pin our hope on what we can control. Desperate to escape the dark, we’ve lost sight of what hope is.
Perhaps our struggle began with prosperity, then beginning to take the LORD for granted, we relied on our own wisdom. We forgot it was He who delivered us out of slavery and He who blessed us. (Deut 8)
What is Hope?
In our confusion, we now think hope means happiness, getting what we want, everything going well, and boldly declaring we are powerful and will attain our dreams. In short, hope means we will never suffer.
But, is that genuine Hope? Paul links hope with suffering. “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who was given to us” (Rom 5:2b-5).
Do you see how huge this is? Hope is not dependent on your circumstances. Hope has to do with rising by faith, up out of impossible situations to trust your Beloved Lord. Hope paves the way for the resurrection life of Christ to burst forth out of the dark.
Christ: Our Hope
But first, Jesus had to suffer and experience smothering darkness before He could rise triumphant. Bursting forth out of the tomb, He conquered death and darkness to become Hope.
Unless we yield to Love, allow the Holy Spirit to quiet us and enable us to face whatever confronts us in the dark: loss of finances or control, fears of COVID and death, loss of freedom and justice, God not giving us what we want – we will not experience Hope. Instead, like in my dream, we will wander a myriad of paths, seeking what only the Lord provides.
And let us not forget, Jesus, the Light of the world, was born at a time of suffering, and oppression to bring the eternal message of Love and Hope.
Celebrating Advent, my daughter has been reading us a book titled All Creation Waits by Gayle Boss, who speaks of the winter, the dark, and death as a time of the renewal of Hope.
Because God is Love, in the midst of all of the winters of life, you and I have Hope. Jesus, our Saviour and Lord, has risen from the grave and He will never leave us.
May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Rom 15:13)