Last Sunday we were able to hold our first service in the Church since the COVID-19 lockdown. It was so good to be back into our lovely old church and worship God together. Our theme through the service was HOPE. It was an appropriate theme, as we all need a bit of hope at this time, and we were able to look forward to all that God is going to do in us, through us and for us in the coming days. Here's a few thoughts that we shared together during the service.
We have hope because we know that God knows what is going on in our lives. We have courage to face the future because he is in control of all of existence, and he will overcome all the problems that evil has brought into our lives. God will overcome this and make us victorious in the process.
Because of who God is, we know that something good is going to happen. Something is on the horizon. Something is growing. Something is happening because there is Someone behind the scenes making it happen. We are not sure what it is going to look like, but we know it is going to be wonderful. It has already begun in us, and one day it will be completed. Paul said that he was “confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
It is in knowing whose we are that we are able to redirect our confidence from ourselves, our efforts and our abilities to something which is lasting. We are able to hope because we are able to trust God. We no longer have to be in control. We can let go and let God.
It is important to understand that hoping is not wishing. Wishing is something that those who do not have God do.
Henri Nouwen writes: “I have found it very important in my own life to let go of my wishes and start hoping. It was only when I was willing to let go of wishes that something really new, something beyond my own expectations, could happen to me. . . . To wait open-endedly is an enormously radical attitude toward life. So is to trust that something will happen to us that is far beyond our own imaginings. So, too, is giving up control over our future and letting God define our life, trusting that God moulds us according to God’s love and not according to our fear. The spiritual life is a life in which we wait, actively present to the moment, trusting that new things will happen to us, new things that are far beyond our own imagination, fantasy, or prediction. That, indeed, is a very radical stance toward life in a world preoccupied with control.”
To hope is to give up control and give the control to God. It replaces confidence in ourselves with confidence in God. Hoping is not wishing - wishing keeps things within the bounds of our own imaginations. Hope is open-ended — an expectation that God is going to do something greater than we could have ever dreamed. Wishing is fantasy, hope is based in a grand reality — the person and character of a loving, ever imaginative God who always has our best in mind.