Week 5 - Hope/Waiting

Hope. What a word! We are in challenging times and the future of this pandemic is uncertain. This time in history is heartbreaking and fear is all around.

"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear." I John 4:18, NIV

Jesus is this perfect love. His sacrifice brings us the hope of life, eternal life. He is our hope. He has always been our hope and He will always be our hope. And when we’re deep in the struggle of life, hope comes in like a breath of fresh air. The perfect love of Jesus brings hope!

The beloved sisters we meet in the Gospels, Martha and Mary, will be our inspiration this week. In John 11, we read that their brother Lazarus became very ill, so the sisters sent word to Jesus, informing Him of Lazarus’ condition. When Jesus arrives, days later, both Martha and Mary, as different as they are, separately greet Jesus with this same phrase: "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." It's clear the sisters had hope while their brother was dying.  However, when Lazarus died and was buried, the sisters’ hope died with him. If only Jesus had been there, things would have been different. But we see earlier in the chapter, Jesus was fully aware of what was going on. Yet, He waited to come until after Lazarus had died. He knew that there was still hope. (Read more of their story in Luke 10, John 12, and John 20.)

Hope means waiting. It means the thing we desire is not yet here. Like Martha, may we hope in Jesus enough to say, even in loss, "I know he [Lazarus] will rise again" (John 11:24). We may misunderstand what Jesus is up to (as Martha did). We usually don't know the details of His plans to redeem the most broken situations, but our task as limited humans is simple — we can hold on to hope (Hebrews 11:1).

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." Hebrews 10:23, NIV

Our hope is grounded in someone who is eternally making all things new (Revelation 21:5). Jesus is our promise, the One in whom we find hope.

"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."  John 16:33, NIV

This Lent, we're leaning into hope, through the love of Jesus. Let us continue to pray for the many suffering around our world by the current situation of this pandemic. Let us also pray for the girls around the world who are disproportionately suffering from the effects of poverty. Our ability to help comes from our hope in Jesus. He has promises for each of these girls, and He is faithful! This week, hold on to hope.

In this together,

Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. — Isaiah 1:17, NIV