Isaiah 26:3,4 (Amplified Version) You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You. So trust in the Lord (commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently in Him) forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages].
Hope is elusive at times. It’s easy to loose track of it when circumstances and distractions pile one upon another to bury it in a heap of discouragements. Sometimes we have to toss aside those cumbersome concerns and dig deep to reclaim the hope that is there, just waiting to be rediscovered.
Memory can go a long way towards hanging onto hope. When we can look back at times when we have been discouraged, blinded by the pain, fear, and loss we were experiencing in that moment – then remembering God’s faithfulness to bring us out of those times gives us courage to hope in His provisions in the here and now.
Many times in Israel’s history, the people were told to remember God’s faithfulness to meet their needs in the past in order to build up courage to face the new challenges that awaited them. They were told to remember His covenant with Abraham, remember His miraculous deliverance from Egypt, and many more instances of His faithfulness, protection, and provision. Psalm 77 is a lament of desperation in which the only hope came from remembering God’s faithfulness in the past. Psalm 78 begins with a challenge for God’s people to listen to the teachings of old, “which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but we will tell to the generations to come the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord.” (verses 3,4)
During these times of uncertainty due to the pandemic, the world is crying out in desperate need for reassurance. Our world has known great tragedy and devastation in the past, but previously it was in specific areas or territories. This time the whole world is suffering and seeking for help & hope. When we look back at previous times when plagues threatened to wipe out large populations, we see that it was the Christ followers who stayed in the disease struck areas to minister to the sick and bury the dead. Many paid with their lives, but because of their courage and faithfulness, many others survived.
Today the world is looking to science and/or government to rescue them, but as time goes on, it is becoming more and more clear that they are very limited in what help and hope they have to offer. It seems like every time a new vaccine comes out, a new variant is discovered that isn’t responsive to the vaccine. Those who get a vaccine are finding that they need booster after booster to continue the protection. I just learned today about a dear saint friend who has contracted COVID a second time. People are afraid. Science and government are making unreliable statements and promises that cause more confusion and fear.
I would like to suggest that it is time to remember God’s faithfulness and provision in the past when the foe being faced was seemingly unbeatable. I believe it’s time to call for the repentance of our nation, our world, and ourselves. Like Nehemiah, we need to cry out to the God of our forefathers. Nehemiah 1:5-7 “And I said, O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God, Who keeps covenant, loving-kindness, and mercy for those who love Him and keep His commandments, Let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to listen to the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You day and night for the Israelites, Your servants, confessing the sins of the Israelites which we have sinned against You. Yes, I and my father’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, statutes, and ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.”
It may seem that I have altered the focus of this post, but not really. Hope doesn’t hide under the covers when tragedy strikes. Actually, hope throws the covers of fear off and declares that there is a way to find courage and healing for our souls. It’s an ancient path that we can only follow when we remember what has taken us so far astray, and Who has brought us back in the past, and Who will bring us back again.
“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”Jeremiah 6:16a