Friday, December 05, 2008

Advent Week One: Hope Day Six

Psalm 31: 24
Be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the LORD.

At Jubilee Church we often sing the chorus,

My life is in you, Lord,
My strength is in you, Lord,
My hope is in you, Lord,
In You, it’s in You.

Sometimes I feel a little guilty singing those words because I know how easily I tend to hope in everything but the Lord. I live in a world, a nation, a culture and even a town (founded by staunch German immigrants) that all tell me to put hope in myself.

We can “pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps.” We put hope in our hard work, our jobs, our nation, our military, our money. That is “the American way” after all.

Our Yankee emphasis on rugged individuality has often come in handy. It is not a bad thing to learn personal responsibility or to discover our strengths. But when the day comes, as it inevitably seems to do, that tragedy weakens us or empties our bank account, gas prices rise, the stock market crashes, a natural disaster destroys our home...then what? Life is nothing if not uncertain.

I saw this uncertainty with distressing clarity when I travelled to a town on the Gulf Coast just days after Hurricane Katrina struck. One area along the beach had been the “rich neighborhood.” Now, a place known for oak trees, wide streets and beautiful southern mansions was merely an empty stretch of sand. Only a few twisted branches and some steps leading nowhere remained to indicate what had once been. I will never forget the eerie unreality of that scene. I talked with people who said dazedly, “What do I do now?”

The hope of Advent is not a hope in ourselves. In these weeks before Christmas Day we remind ourselves that our hope is in the Messiah’s coming. As the Psalmist tells us, the Lord will be our strength.

Our hope is built on nothing less,
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness,
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus name.
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand. **

Prayer: God of Hope, strengthen my heart as I trust in You. Amen

* "My Life is in You" Daniel Gardner
** "The Solid Rock" Wm. Bradbury


Sista Cala said...

I can really relate to this post. Self-reliance/independence is what I most often have to haul to the altar of sacrifice.

Glad I stopped by today.

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

Hi, SC! Nice to "see" you. I'll drop by later!