We all have a song of hope in our hearts. During this advent season, it is important to remember that God is the one who we should look to write the words of that song. In this sermon, Greg shares how we sometimes get in the way of seeing God’s hope.
Hope is an unidentified tune in all of our hearts. We all hope for something, even if we can’t quite put it into words. And even if we achieve all of our hopes, there would still be an unsettled feeling in our souls. Even the richest and happiest people hope for more in this world. And this has been true throughout history.
In Biblical times, the Jews were waiting and hoping for a messiah. After being taken over by the Assyrians and Babylonians, the Jewish people were scattered across the land with no home to worship God. During this time, prophets came forward and prophesied about a coming Messiah who would restore Israel. This was called the consolation of their faith, because the only thing they could have faith in was the coming messiah. That’s why, in Luke, there is a story of Simeon that says Israel had finally received their consolation and their messiah had arrived in the baby of Jesus.
However, this messiah didn’t fit the hope that the Jewish people had. They wanted a warrior king who would reestablish the nation of Israel and push out its political and military enemies. Jesus, instead, solved the greater problem facing the world. And it led them to misunderstand Jesus’ mission and reject him to the point of the cross.
The people of Israel were supplying their own words to the song of hope in their hearts. Instead of depending on God to supply the real hope that would be fulfilled, they were instead choosing ways of the world to hope for. Even though Jesus supplied them with the ultimate gift and the real satisfaction for their hope, they chose not to listen.
Our hope should be supplied by Jesus and in the unwavering love of God to renew creation. It’s often easy to write the words to the hope song. We can fill that song with hope described on job, family or health. And we can become angry when those hopes aren’t filled. Like when Greg’s child never got better through 10 years of prayer, we can begin to blame an all-powerful God for not acting and filling our hopes. But the truth about these hopes is that they’re based on our desire to fix people and problems in this world. We want to control our hopes. And while some of these hopes may be answered, there are some that won’t be until God restores creation.
To deal with these types of problems, it’s important to know that the way it is won’t last forever. We need to let God take care of the details while we keep our eyes on the future. Because our God works in unexpected ways. Greg, his family, and his friends all prayed for his son for 10 years, with hardly any answers. But one day, a woman came up to Greg after a service, and asked if Greg had tested his son for autism. With that suggestion, Greg had his son tested and found a diagnosis that fit. With therapy and understanding, they found a way to help manage the situation. But it still didn’t solve the original problem of a broken world where sickness still thrives. We should do what we can in this world, but we should place our hope in Christ’s plan. In the meantime, we should continue to look forward to the future and dwell on that reality to help us during troubled times.
Hide Extended Summary