First things first, this is not a blog about Star Wars. If you are looking for a blog about Star Wars, this one would be about 40 years too late. This is a blog about Hope. Over the course of the summer months at Skillman, we try to focus our teachings on topics in and around that of Hope. Currently, on Sunday mornings, we are discussing the topic of Joy–one which flows out from our ultimate Hope.
But today, here in this space, I would like to consider the need for Hope to be born anew. What happens when Hope fades and needs to be rekindled?
I don’t think that it is difficult to imagine any number of scenarios where Hope might fade. It might be as simple as a promise being broken. Or it may come when we least expect it (after all, the saying goes that idle time is the devil’s playground). It may even come on the heels of devastating personal or family news. Whenever or however, it is not difficult to think of a time when Hope can or might need to be reborn.
The people of Israel constantly face this during their history as covered in the Hebrew Bible. Even from the very beginning when Abram begins to receive the promises from God that he and Sarai will beget a huge nation with countless descendants, Hope fades very quickly. Or we might think of later on when time after time, we read about the failings of the monarchs of either the Northern Kingdom of Israel or the Southern Kingdom of Judah after the reign of Solomon. Hope seems nonexistent as we read story after story of the failings of these leaders.
But, at no other time does Hope seem to be lost forever as it does when both Israel and Judah have been taken into exile by their enemies. It is one of the most significant times in all of the biblical history for God’s people because it is precisely at this point that the people wonder whether God has vanished and/or abandoned them. Hope is lost.
Or at least that’s what we might think.
But Israel isn’t done with God, nor does she believe that God is done with her. Even in the midst of the judgment against God’s people, the prophets speak of a Hope for renewal and rebirth. They speak of a time when the world will be made new. When pain and loss and suffering will be unmade. The prophets call on the people for repentance, and when that doesn’t happen, they still preach of a future day that will be brought about by God. A day when Hope will be made new too.
Take a moment to read and reflect on this passage from the book of Isaiah: Click here to read Isaiah 65:17-25.
Reading this passage reminds us that even when it seems that Hope is lost, or when we wonder if God has abandoned us in our circumstances, even still, there is a greater Hope in which we can place our trust in God. God is not yet done with this creation; and, in fact, God is recreating this creation. One day, wolf and lamb will lie down together, weeping and crying will vanish, old and young alike will live out all of their days, and the world will provide plentifully for all.
This week, later this year, or whenever the moment arrives where it seems that you have lost all Hope, return back to passages like this one. Allow it to fill your heart, soul, and mind with the promise that God is still working. Spend time in reflection asking God to bring this future to the here and now. And remember, Hope is being made new, even now as we speak.