Where Do We Find Hope?

Where Do We Find Hope?

by the Rev. Seth Kellermann, Rector, Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Grass Valley

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers,
they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
Isaiah 43:1-3

We live in an uncertain world. Just in the last year we have had fires in the Sierras, earthquakes in the Napa Valley and our state has been plunged into a deep drought. Likewise, on a very personal level, we worry about our health, our jobs, the state of our churches and our families. Despite the great advances of the modern era, to insulate us from the concerns of life, we still live in a lot of fear and anxiety.

The question in the midst of all of this uncertainty then becomes “where do we find hope?” Fortunately, our Lord tells us that hope can be found in Him. The opening scripture is Isaiah 43:1-3. In that passage God assures His people that He will protect them. He will be with them and watch over them. They will still face floods and fire, but in the midst of these things they will not be harmed because God is with them. Does this mean that we can cancel our flood and fire insurance? No, this means that in the midst of danger God is with us and will preserve us for eternal life. Our hope, therefore, cannot be taken from us. Now, if our hope is built on success in this world (possessions, looks, popularity, reputation, or family) it can be taken from us and leave us empty. The world is full of tragic stories where these things fail. But if our hope is built on Jesus Christ, and His atoning death, then we need not fear the fire or flood, for they cannot take our hope away.

In this passage from Isaiah, God tells his people that He has “redeemed them.” This means that God had purchased them with a price. He had purchased the Israelites from slavery and set them free in the Promised Land. In our context we have been redeemed as well. Jesus Christ, the very Son of God, stepped down into our world and took our flesh upon Him and died for our sins, so that we could be reconciled to God: the righteous for the unrighteous. When we believe in Christ, we are set free from bondage and slavery to sin, and redeemed to love and follow God and serve others. We no longer need to fear death or destruction, for our hope is in Christ and it cannot be taken from us.

Today we see dangers and uncertainties in this world. Fire, earthquake, and drought shake us to our core. Then where shall we find our hope? I pray that we will once again find our hope in Christ. That we would receive the hope that he offers us, and that we would rejoice that we have been given such a gift.



 

2 comments (Add your own)

1. Gaye Anne McWade wrote:
Every day's situations, in His grace, are an opportunity for us to see and know our Lord more near and more clearly. So, may we walk in His light, always saying, "I will with God's help." Thank you, dear Fr. Seth.

Tue, September 23, 2014 @ 5:07 PM

2. Suellen Stenhouse wrote:
Truly, we who believe in the Trinity may walk in the light of Jesus and know all things are possible with God's help.

Tue, September 23, 2014 @ 9:22 PM

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