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Mournful Hope

There are bad things happening in the world right now.  And yet, since that fateful day in the Garden of Eden, there have always been bad things happening in the world.  We live in a world that has death and pain and disappointment.  We live in a world where circumstances often make us sad or mournful over our losses and things we cannot control. 

The loss of life due to sickness, the loss of income due to cut shifts, the loss of social activities, the loss of peace in the uncertainty…these things bring us grief and uneasiness.  But as Christians, let us not forget the hope we have!  Why should we mourn when we have such hope in Jesus?

Right?!?!

And yet…Jesus clearly says in Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”  So it almost seems like He’s giving us permission to mourn and even saying we can be blessed through mourning.  It just seems strange on the surface though—why allow ourselves to feel sadness and grief when we have the hope that Jesus brings?  Isn’t it disrespectful to God?  Okay Lord, I know you have everything under control and you are good and whatnot…but I’m still going to be sad about my current situation… 

As Christians can we and should we mourn?  Yes!  We really should.  Jesus himself mourned the death of Lazarus—even though Jesus knew He was about to raise him from the dead!  Jesus mourned despite His hope.  He mourned because it is fully appropriate to be upset about the fact that sin kicked over that first domino in the chain reaction to bring death, pain, and disappointment to each of our lives.  It’s disrespectful not to mourn it because it cheapens the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf.  We shouldn’t just skip over the sad parts and go straight to hope!  Instead, mournful hope strengthens our love for, and gratitude to, God! 

I think most of us are mourning something right now–but that doesn’t automatically mean despair and hopelessness.  Let us be filled with mournful hope: acknowledging and grieving the brokenness while also clinging to the hope of God’s redemptive power.

But speaking of hope…where is yours right now?  In the midst of all these upheavals to our routines, our faith routines may have been tossed to the backburner.  Are we so distracted with our contingency plans that we are inadvertently putting our hope in those plans instead of in Jesus? 

  • Is our hope in our bottles of hand sanitizer…or in the One who purifies us from our sins?
  • Is our hope in our canned food…or in the Bread of Life Himself?
  • Is our hope in our medical system…or in the creator of our physical bodies?
  • Is our hope in our stash of toilet paper…or in the One who wiped our slate clean? 😉

Dear Lord, thank you for this day.  Thank you for being a steadfast God in the midst of an uncertain world.  Thank you for new perspective and new hope each day when we ask you for it.  Thank you for wisdom and guidance you provide when we listen.  Lord, please help us to look to you for that fresh perspective and hope.  Remind us to slow down our chatter and listen for your wisdom and guidance.  Lord, the world needs you, and we need you.  Thank you for all of the current reminders of this.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Psalm 34

I will extol the Lord at all times;
    his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord;
    let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
    let us exalt his name together.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
    he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
    their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
    he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
    and he delivers them.

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
    for those who fear him lack nothing.
10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,
    but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
11 Come, my children, listen to me;
    I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 Whoever of you loves life
    and desires to see many good days,
13 keep your tongue from evil
    and your lips from telling lies.
14 Turn from evil and do good;
    seek peace and pursue it.

15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
    and his ears are attentive to their cry;
16 but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
    to blot out their name from the earth.

17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
    he delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

19 The righteous person may have many troubles,
    but the Lord delivers him from them all;
20 he protects all his bones,
    not one of them will be broken.

21 Evil will slay the wicked;
    the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
22 The Lord will rescue his servants;
    no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

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