It is almost the end of the first week of Advent and I am struggling to focus on the hope of God. This has not been an easy week. Monday our basement flooded and we spent the day helping our Mustard Seed House companions Anneke & Peter try to dry out their basement. In many ways we were fortunate. Just a few blocks away an apartment building was flooded to the ceiling and of course at Chehalis, halfway between Seattle and Portland the freeway and adjacent settlements were covered by 10 feet of water destroying peoples’ livelihoods and their hopes for the future. Then I read about the shooting in the mall in Omaha and the families whose hope has been destroyed by the death of loved ones.
At the same time I have spent hours on the phone to my brother and mother in Australia trying to help make decisions about my elderly father who is slowly slipping into dementia. There is no hope that his condition will improve. There are other continuing struggles in our lives that make me feel at times that my world is unravelling and my life fragmenting.
Where do I find hope and how can I talk about hope in the midst of the struggles of life? Then I read the scriptures Brother Maynard asked us to focus on and I was reminded that there is only one place in which hope lies – in the promises of a God who made all things and who redeems all things.
Is 54:10 in particular leapt out at me with the reassurance and hope that I had been grasping for this week. “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed.”
My hope rests not in the circumstances around me, but in the promise of God’s covenant of peace, or more correctly the promise of shalom with its connotations of wholeness, completeness and restoration of all that God has created. My hope during this season rests in the promised coming of the Prince of Peace through whom all things will be restored, and made whole again. I live in hope and expectation of that new world coming in which people’s lives will no longer be devastated by flood, or famine or war, a new world in which peple will not reach out to destroy but to give life.
I live in anticipation of the coming of the Prince of Peace, who made and who is already at work reshaping, remolding and renewing us to become the people that we were intended to be – a people who love God deeply and who care for each other with the same great love that god has shown towards us.
May we all live this season in the hope of God’s shalom world.
This is an Advent Posts for the Johannine Advent Blog project hosted by Brother Maynard. Participating bloggers are:
- Brother Maynard
- Lainie Petersen
- Peggy Brown
- Adam Copeland
- John the Shepherd
- Rob Robinson
- Christine Sine
- Lori Bjerkander
- Julie Clawson
- Cindy Bryan
- Robin Dugall
- Lyn Hallewell
- J. Michael Matkin
- Eric G.
- (Formerly Emerging) Grace
- Matt Stone