Hold On To Hope

Hold On To Hope

By Nathan Bryant | Pastor, The Zoe Project

What is one thing that you cannot live without?

If we did a survey or even just a simple Google search I am sure we would come up with all the obvious ones, as well as some of the superficial ones.

Your job? Your family?
How about your pets?
The beach?
Your hobbies?
Maybe, for you it is WiFi, or at least it seems that way when you can’t seem to ever get a connection.

We could go down an endless list, but what I don’t think we would find listed anywhere is hope.

I’m not sure anything is more essential to getting out of bed in the morning, and yet it is not something we think of often. In fact, it seems the only time we think about hope is when we feel hope-less.
Hope may not be in the front of our minds, but it certainly seems to be everywhere else. We see it on political signs, Hallmark cards, we name our little girls after it. Fifteen cities in the U.S. are named Hope, four more in Canada, two in the United Kingdom, and one in New Zealand.

Hope is the name of five movies, a TV network, a computer programming language, sixteen ships in the Royal Navy, a Slovakian Political Party, three different colleges and universities, an island, and a railway station.

Hope is everywhere.

Except sometimes… we have the hardest time finding it inside of ourselves.

We all need hope.

The people of the Story, (what I like to refer to the real people who lived thousands of years ago in the Biblical record), needed hope.

And they found it, in the most unlikely of places… and the most unlikely of persons.

Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel, And ransom captive Israel, That mourns in lonely exile here Until the Son of God appear.

We are separated from the people of the Old Testament by more than just time. Sure, time may be the biggest issue, but there are other significant cultural, geographical, worldview, and general mindsets that separate us. The angst of life without the ease and comfort that technology beckons us with was categorically different for the people who lived in the Story of Scripture.
However, something that is true for all people, at all times, and in all places is that we all need hope.

The people of the Story found themselves in a sticky situation. Well, they found themselves there a whole lot. Whereas their situation was deeply spiritual, just like us, they always got caught up with the political, economical, and social issues on top of it all.

These people weren’t experiencing a spiritual exile alone, they were also experiencing a physical exile. Something most of us will never experience.

But just like us today, where it is so easy to be distracted by all the things we think we could not live without… the Story shows us that they felt that way too.

To them it wasn’t an iPhone, it was their land.

They didn’t try keeping up with Mr. and Mrs. Jones, but they were trying to communally keep up with their actual enemies.

They clung for and longed for the realization of their hope, that God would provide for all their needs.

God did not always rescue them from their enemies in the moment. He didn’t split the Red Sea for every situation. Sometimes He let them be dragged away. Sometimes He let the enemy destroy their city, their home, their land… their temple.

Sometimes He let Rome invade and subjugate them. Sometimes He allowed them to be exiled even whilst living in their home.

How often have we felt that God has abandoned us? We aren’t alone.
How often has it seemed that God made a mistake? We aren’t alone thinking that either.

But, we cry out, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel… and we are reminded of His Word:

Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory.

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine…

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called:Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His government and its peace will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity.

The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!

This first week of Advent we remember that God provides HOPE in the midst of chaos. He will come through and make every Right and Just. He alone brings Peace. He alone is passionate about His commitment to us.

When the storms come… and they come all the time… Our God gave us HOPE to hold on to.

At His word, the storms cease. At His Word we find redemption and at His Word, we find our Hope.

Hold onto that…

We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

-Romans 8:23-25 NLT

*If you’re looking for hope, join us on Wednesday nights from 6pm-8pm at Brick House Coffee & Kitchen located at 1016 Lockwood Blvd #170, Oviedo, FL 32765.

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