Welcome back to day 3 of our Advent series on the theme of HOPE. Feel free to invite a friend to join us on this journey!
When I begin a Bible study of a topic like hope, the first tool I reach for is my concordance. When I looked up the word “hope” in this index of all the words in the Bible, I was surprised to find that the word doesn’t appear in the Scriptures until the book of Ruth, and from there it jumps to the book of Job. Nothing about hope in the first seven books of the Bible? The word first appears in the story of Ruth, after a time when Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi has suffered through a famine and then the loss of her husband and both sons. And in Job, we find a man who has lost his family, his crops, his herds and his health.
Having just lost my husband, I understand their grief but also their need for hope. What is it about hard times that causes us to hope? If everything is going fine, then we have no need to hope for more. But when we are at the nadir of our difficulties, we yearn for health, we hope for restoration. In the depths of despair, Job says, “Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant my hope.” (Job 6:8)
When the prophet Jeremiah wrote the book of Lamentations, Jeremiah was also in the pit of despair. His entire culture had been destroyed by the Babylonians. These invaders had burned the Temple, destroyed the walls of Jerusalem, and enslaved Jeremiah’s people. The prophet cried out, “The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time…yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness.” (3:19-22)
Has COVID worn you down? Will you be alone at the holidays? Reach into your Bible today and find the Author of Hope.