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I choose hope

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by Sharon Robertson, Lt. Colonel –

Remark by a guest participant on a national television news commentary: “The economy is rebounding at an unexpected rate.”

Late April headlines in the local newspaper: UNEMPLOYMENT IN COUNTY REACHES 18 PERCENT!

What are we to believe? Who are we to trust? We grasp at frazzled, decaying straws of hope, even as friends and loved ones desperately search the job market for something, anything, that will make it possible to make ends meet after unemployment compensation has run out. Hundreds, sometimes thousands, of qualified applicants pounding the pavement and flooding online job-search sites, submitting resumes, hoping, praying that somehow, somewhere, that dream job . . . no, any job . . . is waiting for them. And response after response, with despairing regularity, “Sorry, but the position has been filled.”

For millions, it’s not just the comforts of life that have had to be put on hold; critical medical care, the urgent necessities of life, even the supplying of daily bread, become challenges that may appear insuperable.

Where is God when you need him? Why has he not supplied the needs of his people, as he promised? His people are hurting—but where is the healing? They are threatened—where is the Rock where they are supposed to be able to find shelter? His own children feel lost, bewildered and abandoned. Where is the loving Shepherd, whom we thought we could depend upon for protection and strength in the day of trouble?

How I would love to be able to offer some sort of spiritual formula that would immediately resolve all these questions, but the fact is, there is no simple prescription, no sugar-coated miracle pill, available to alleviate all the pain of life’s devastating ills and challenges. The only treatment that I know is that found in the Scriptures, and in the lives of innumerable saints of God who have found consolation and encouragement in looking to the past to learn how to face the future with hope and confidence.

Our hope is in the LORD.

That may not be what you wanted to hear, but that is the one true, indisputable fact of the Christian life. God is a God of victorious living, of snatching victory from what others think to be inevitable defeat. No matter how diligently we search the Scriptures, we will never find an example of God abandoning his people, of failing to bring good out of dire adversity, or of failing to lead his suffering faithful to victory. The ancients were able to work their way through depression and a sense of desolation by one thing only: their unfailing belief that God is God, and that all things work together for good, to them who love and serve him.

It was not that our predecessors did not question; they did, again and again. Look, for example, at Isaiah 40:27.

Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God?”

But always they found their strength and consolation in the assurance,

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint (Isaiah 40:28-31 (NIV).

When looking for answers, I have always found that the wisest move is to turn to the Word of God. The consistent answer of Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, is this: Wait on the Lord. Be faithful to him; trust him; let him direct your paths. Relax in him, and in the sure and certain future he has for you. KNOW that in your life also,

The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy
(Isaiah 35:1-2 NIV).


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