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Words of the Week – Hope When Life Seems Dark
By Gwendolyn Williams, Contributing Writer
Published April 29, 2020

Gwendolyn Williams (Courtesy photo)

Scripture: Psalm 42:1-5

Psalm 42 was written while David was in exile. He had been forced to flee Jerusalem because of the rebellion of his son, Absalom, who had declared himself king and was marching with an army on Jerusalem. (see II Samuel, Chapters 15-18.)

David chose to flee with his household and followers for a number of reasons: He did not wish to be in a civil war, he wanted to reconcile with his son, it was too late to fortify the city and the city did not have enough food and water to sustain a siege.

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Also, these were not foreign invaders, but his son, and he did not wish for the destruction of the city. In addition, David reasoned that if he must go to war against a large army, it was better to do it in the forest where he and his army can fight a guerilla war because they know the forest.

So, David is feeling a little anxious. He misses leading the crowd to worship and he was being heckled by the people as he and his followers tearfully left the city. But, David comes to himself, has a self-talk and declares that his hope is in the Lord. There is no need to be disquieted or downcast.

In this time of COVID-19, we have been told to shelter in place in order to be safe at home. No hugging, no kissing, and no human touch unless absolutely necessary. Kids are home 24-7, spouses are home 24 -7, folks are hording toilet paper and disinfectants, there’re shortages of food items at the markets, six-feet of space between you and others with mask and gloves.

There are no in-person church visits, but we can visit by phone and through other uses of technology. In restaurants, dining has become take-out or delivered food and no beauty or barber appointments. We are being forced to become self-reliant, but we are to also help and look out for our neighbors and other at-risk persons. However, with God on our side, we will overcome this through hope.

There are two types of hope – secular and biblical. What is the difference? In secular hope, we are wising for something, hoping it will happen, such as “I hope that the sun will come out tomorrow.”

Biblical hope is grounded in the word and promises of God and we know that God does not lie. Psalm 23:1 states, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” Lamentations 3:22-24 says, “Through the Lord’s mercies, we are not consumed, for his compassion fails not, they are new each morning. Great is your faithfulness.”

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One of the most popular hymns of the past 100 years is “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” This hymn about the faithfulness and mercy of God was written by a frail, sickly man named Thomas Chisholm, who spent most of his life confined to bed because of illness.

He recognized that God was faithful and merciful in the face of his illness. He concluded that God was faithful and provided new mercies to his people every morning. This song assures us that even in times of great distress, brokenness and great suffering, we can find comfort as we trust in God’s faithfulness.

If the circumstances of your life seem to be going from bad to worst, sending you into depression and despair, remember that God always hears and answers our cries. Remember that the Christian biblical hope’s foundation is faith in God.

Biblical hope carries no doubt. It is the foundation of our lives. Without biblical hope, we can literally become heartsick, sick in our minds and souls which can lead to depression, disengagement, hopelessness.

We may know in our hearts that God alone is our source of hope, but how do we get our hearts to believe it too? We can put hope in our hearts by: praying without ceasing, reminding yourself of who you are in Christ, let others help in times of distress and pray for them also, count your blessings daily, have your own praise and worship party and stay in God’s Word because it gives us strength.

Remember that God is always with you, guiding your actions even when you don’t feel His presence. In your darkest moments and deepest pain, you can still have hope. We can praise God when everything seems bleak and dark. Our hope in God reveals that He is in control and He does everything for our good.

Hope gives us confidence, according to Psalm 25:13 – “No one who hopes in you will be put to shame,” and strength says Isaiah 40:31 – “They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength.”

Hope reveals the love of God that is within every believer. We are moved by the spirit of God to show love to others so that they will come to know God.

God planted hope in the heart of every believer so that we can build a strong relationship of love and trust with Him. Where is your hope?

Gwendolyn Williams is an ordained and licensed exhorter in the AME Church and a member of Brookins-Kirkland Community AME Church in Los Angeles.

 

Categories: Religion
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