The lights are twinkling on roofs, wreaths hanging from doors and silhouettes of Christmas trees can be seen in the windows as I wander the streets of my local suburb. For a year that has been unexpected and bumpy, with more downs than highs, it is refreshing to feel a buzz in the air again.
The monotony of lockdown has been pierced and the sun is out again as the winter rains give way to summery afternoons. There is a feeling that the worst has been seen, and having survived that we can survive the next uncertain seasons.
A vaccine seems to be around the corner and with it comes imaginings of a return to normal, whatever that may be; a return to travel, a return to hugs, to singing, to seeing smiles instead of masks. There is a sense of hope for the future.
A temporal hope
Hope – it’s a lovely word. It’s an expectation for the future to be better, for the world to be a brighter and safer place; a desire to see love flourishing and lives thriving.
But for all my expectations, for all my desires, the hope of this world has a foundation of uncertainty. It is a fickle dwelling, with walls held together by threads.
The world is unpredictable, the future precarious. When I give myself over to analysing all the options of just what could go wrong I can be paralysed by the never ending tangle of options. And yet even if I were to analyse all the known and imagined threats to my way of life and make adjustments accordingly I will probably still be blindsided. The things I worry about for the future usually end up being the least of my worries when I get there!
An eternal hope
But there is a hope not of this world that has deeper roots and a firmer foundation – the sure hope of eternal life in Christ.
The Apostle Paul writes of it in this way:
Hebrews chapter 6, verse 19 (NIV) – “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure…”
When the ocean of life is stirred by unseen forces, and distant tremors become surging waves of diversity, my heart finds rest and safety in the precious promises of God.
Romans 8 talks about the love of God and how nothing can separate us from it – not death, nor life, nor anything in the entire world. In Christ I have been made alive and in Him my life is secure, my destiny sealed, my future held. In my failings, He is merciful, in my weakness He is my strength, and in my uncertainty He is my rock that never yields.
A sure hope
During lockdown I explored a lot of music and came across an interesting band called ‘Psallos’ who take scripture in song to another level, literally going through the bible book by book and writing songs to summarise each passage. They have an album on the book of Romans which I thoroughly enjoyed, particularly the refrain that was repeated throughout that went as follows:
We have a sure hope!
We have a sure hope!
And nothing can separate us
From His love!
The tune is catchy, and the words have stuck with me throughout this turbulent year. I have a sure hope, and what a precious thing that is! And it is a hope that is free for all who would drink of it.
Thomas Devenish lives in Hobart, Tasmania with his wife and two daughters. He works as a motion designer and enjoys the diverse experiences life has to offer, from chasing tennis balls to curling up with a good book on a rainy day. Thomas Devenish’s previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/thomas-devenish.html