I've noticed a great deal of "hoping" that has been created by this ongoing uncertainty we're facing. In the midst of turmoil that we've all been experiencing recently, there are a great many people today hoping for the best.
After all, aren't we all hoping for a quick solution?
Aren't we hoping for healing and recovery to the growing numbers of sick?
Aren't we hoping we and our loved ones will be healthy?
Aren't we hoping the casualties will stay low?
Aren't we hoping for a speedy recovery for so many who have lost their jobs?
We're wanting to relieve suffering for as many people as possible both physically and financially. And this is an entirely appropriate sentiment when things are enormous and outside of our control.
However, I was reminded of a different kind of hope as I read Psalm 146:3-6:
3 Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. 4 When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish. 5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, 6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever;
In this passage, the Lord is contrasted with the princes of this world. And we're told, "Blessed is he... whose hope is in the Lord his God."
This hope described by the Psalmist is very different from the kind of hoping and wishing we experience and so frequently feel.
Notice its parallel in vs. 5 - "Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God." This hope is equated, not with longing or wishing, but with actual help and deliverance.
And now look at how this is contrasted to vs. 3, "Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation."
That our hope is in God, means our trust is in Him. That he is our help, means that salvation is found in Him.
As Paul reminds us in Romans 8:24-25:
For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
The hope we have in our Lord is not simply wishful thinking. Rather, when you wake up before the dawn, you don't wish for the sunrise, you wait for the sunrise. How much more then do we trust and wait upon the one who created the sunrise?
Where death hinders the plans of men, our Lord –who came as the true Son of Man– triumphs over the grave. I love how the imagery in this Psalm not only draws us back to Adam, it also pushes us forward into Christ. For here we're reminded of the character of our Savior. The reason our trust is in him is because of who he is and what he continues to do for his people.
For our God, who reigns over all of creation, also stoops down as the one who
7 who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free; 8 the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous. 9 The LORD watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. 10 The LORD will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD!
May all the hoping that we do in the midst of our uncertain times encourage us all the more to trust in the certain and secure hope we have in our God.
The Love of Christ be with you,
—Rev. Paul Johnson