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2 & 3 December 2023 (Pastoral Page) ADVENT 1 – THE HOPE OF CHRIST

By Asst Ps Lai Keet Keong


Psalm 43:5, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

 

Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

 

What do you hope for in your life right now? Take a couple of minutes and make a list.

 

Perhaps you hope for healing for physical sickness or emotional pain. Some of you may hope for your business or work situation to get better. Or for reconciliation of relationships with cherished family members. As for me, I hope for good physical and emotional health for my family and loved ones. That I will have wisdom not to repeat mistakes made in the past year, to grow in my character and to be more prayerful in every way.

 

My dear friends, whatever you have in your list, I am sure they are important to you. The past 3 years have been particularly rough. It is natural to hope our lives will improve, and when we have done our best, to hope that we have done enough. The Lord is gracious, and He hears our prayers. The Bible assures us that when we delight ourselves in Him, He will grant the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4).

 

However, the idea of hope in Scriptures is a little different from our concept of hope. Biblical hope is not hoping for better or improved circumstances. It is waiting for God to show up. It is expecting the hands of God in our lives – in the middle of all our situations and heart desires – that we will recognize His works in our lives.

 

While the meaning of hope in English has an idea of expectation, the word hope in Hebrew means to tarry, to wait, to be patient, to anticipate, usually with pleasure, expectation or confidence. It also carries the meaning of cord or rope, which comes from the root word that means to bind. This conjures an imagery of a binding promise that cannot be easily broken.


The Bible tells us Christ is our Hope (1 Timothy 1:1). He is an anchor for the soul, both sure and steadfast. You see, the hope Jesus promises does not require us to wait in anxiety or uncertainty. Biblical hope is not a gamble but a sure thing. The hope we celebrate in Advent is about the promised arrival of Christ into the world, make all things new, and fulfils the loving promise of our Heavenly Father.

 

1 John 4:18 tells us, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

 

My dear friends, do you experience fear or anxiety in your heart? The solution is not drowning them with human solution or sheer willpower. Put your hope in God. Only then will you have peace – because the One who promised will never let you down. He is your Saviour and your God.

 

As part of our preparation for Christmas through this Advent, may I encourage us to embrace a paradigm shift. We place our ultimate hope back on God who loves us and promises His abundant life through the finished work of Christ.

 

If you are willing, or whenever you are ready, please say this prayer of rededication and commitment with me:

Dear Lord, I am giving up my hope in this matter getting better. You know I’d love it to change, but I want to put my hope in You. I am trusting Jesus to somehow show up for me, in the middle of it all, and work Your good and perfect plans in my life. For Your ways are higher and far better than I can wish for. Help me to grow from strength to strength, and walk in righteousness and faith. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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