By Miriam Rossow
Yesterday morning I celebrated church at home on the couch. I had on the same clothes that I put on Friday morning with a blanket around me and pillows behind me. I had not showered or even made my way up the stairs. Fortunately, for all in my house, my husband did bring my toothbrush down so I have been able to brush my teeth. On Friday, I had a surgery and I did not give enough credit to this surgery and the recovery that would be required.
I have had four c-sections and so I have experienced abdominal pain and not being able to move, laugh, cough, or sit up on my own. And so when I had this surgery scheduled I figured I would be up and around in no time because it could not compare to a c-section. I was wrong in at least some of my beliefs. It is not as bad as a c-section, but they did still have to cut into my abdomen and put me under and so my senses and muscles are having to recover and not doing it as fast as I expected or hoped.
As I sat on my couch I watched the video on hope that was shown in service. I had hope that my surgery would not be too bad and I would be able to go to an athletic banquet for my daughters on Friday evening. This hope was not founded in anything except a deep desire for this to happen. The video about a biblical hope brought out a very real difference in the hope I had in my quick recovery verses the hope of the bible. The hope in the bible is connected to a person, specifically Jesus. A biblical hope looks at the promises and person of Jesus and what He has accomplished and then looks forward in expectation to a future in His promises.
A biblical hope looks at the promises and person of Jesus and what He has accomplished and then looks forward in expectation to a future in His promises.
I heard from my children that the sermon had a refrain that went something like, ‘A window to the past can open a door of hope to the future’. Looking back into our life and seeing what has happened can bring us hope. What happens though if our life has been miserable? Can we still have a biblical hope? In fact, we can. You see we are not actually looking at our life rather we are looking at the life of Jesus and His work in our life. And one thing we know about this Jesus is He does not work the way we expect or in the means or time that we expect. He does the extraordinary in our ordinary lives. He brings hope to us that is beyond our circumstances.
He brings hope to us that is beyond our circumstances.
I must admit that sometimes this is hard to see or feel. Life in this time before Jesus comes is broken and messy. It is hard to have a hope that is not connected to our every circumstance and yet that is exactly the kind of hope that we are given when our faith and trust are in Jesus. That is the kind of hope we see in the bible over and over.
The hope and peace of the bible are not related to our circumstances rather they are connected to Jesus and His circumstances. Take a look at the story of Jesus’ conception. An angel visits a young peasant teenager named Mary. She is surprised by the angels greeting to her knowing she was nobody and the angel was giving her a magnificent greeting. As she listens to the angel she in hope and with peace says, ‘May it be as you say.’
She doesn’t question or try and figure out how to solve all the obstacles. Instead she has peace in what the angel says and hope in the promise she has been given. She walks in the knowledge that God has acted in great and mighty ways before and Mary trusts that He will follow through on His promises to her. She is putting her hope in the person. Mary knows that if God is promising something He has the power to make that happen. The angel tells her, ‘Nothing will be impossible with God.’ and she believes!
Mary knows that if God is promising something He has the power to make that happen. The angel tells her, ‘Nothing will be impossible with God.’ and she believes!
As I sat on my couch I reread a blog I wrote the Christmas after my father died, A Different Christmas. I was reminded of this blog recently as I talked with some friends about being aware of grief and brokenness at Christmas time. So often we are expected to be happy, joyful, and full of life during this celebration and none of those are bad or incorrect. However, sometimes life is not happy, joyful or full. Sometimes even during Christmas life is hard, broken, and feels dead and without hope or peace. And we as followers of Jesus are still called in the midst of this to have hope.
It is not a hope that everything will be picture perfect when we believe just enough or can get our act together. Rather we have a hope in the promises of our King Jesus we celebrate and in the life that He has lived. A hope that He has something better in store for us and that may come now and it may only be fulfilled when He returns. The point is we are not stuck without hope or with hope only in our selves and circumstances. The blog I mentioned earlier is about the light of Jesus coming over the mountain as we sit in the darkness of the valley. He has come and is coming and we call out in hope for that day that the valley will be filled with His light and peace.
We have a hope in the promises of our King Jesus we celebrate and in the life that He has lived.
And so as I celebrated the second Sunday in Advent on my couch and slowly recover I am thankful that my hope is in the person of Jesus. He has the power to heal and restore me and even more than my body. He has the power to restore peace and hope to my relationships, my body, and my world. I will hold onto His hope looking back through the window at how He has brought hope and peace in my life and watch as a door is opened.