God Should Be the Point of Our Hope
"And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee." (Psalm 39:7)
Cole and Gavin have been especially excited for this Christmas morning to arrive! Of course, they are excited every Christmas, but this time, it is extra special. For Christmas this year, Cole and Gavin are going to get a new baby sister!
For about a year now, the boys and their parents have been praying for this little girl to come be a part of their family. For months and months, they did not even know who she was going to be, but they knew they wanted her. Then, sometime during the summer, they got a phone call from the adoption agency! Cole and Gavin were jumping up and down when they heard the news that they were going to get a new little sister. Not only that, but the details worked out in such a way that Cole and Gavin are waiting at home on Christmas Day (with their grandparents) to meet her! Their parents are going to bring her home to them on Christmas Day!
Can you imagine how much anticipation (hopeful excitement) Gavin and Cole must have been feeling by the time Christmas Eve came? In his ceramic monkey bank, Cole had been saving every "silver coin" he found (every nickel, dime, or quarter) just so that he could buy his new little sister a Christmas present. Gavin had given up his whole bedroom! Dad had converted Gavin's bedroom into a nursery for the baby. And now – finally – they are about to receive their Christmas wish!
How do you think Cole and Gavin might feel if their parents were not able to bring home their new little sister on Christmas morning, after all? Do you think that they would be a little disappointed, or maybe even upset? Or – what if their parents came home, not with a little girl, but with a little boy instead? What a shock that would be! After a while, Cole and Gavin would probably be able to get used to the idea of having a little brother instead; but it might take a few weeks! They have really been looking forward to this new little sister for a long time!
Do you know what it is like to hope and hope and wish and wait for something, only to be disappointed when it did not happen the way you thought it might? Or maybe you have hoped and hoped and wished and waited for something, and it turned out even better than you had imagined! It is not wrong to hope for earthly things, but the Bible teaches that the Person in Whom we should have the most hope is God Himself! But what does it mean to have our hope in God?
Jesus' mother Mary had about nine months to wait for this amazing Son of God to be born. The Bible says that she kept in her heart those things that the angel promised to her, and she pondered them (thought long and hard – and often! – about them). Jesus was born at a very stressful time for Mary and Joseph (the man who would become Jesus' adoptive, earthly father). Because they were engaged to be married, they had to go together to Joseph's hometown (Bethlehem) to take care of some legal matters, and that all happened at the same time that Jesus was about to be born.
Humanly speaking, it seemed like very bad timing for a special birth like Jesus'. Joseph and Mary had been told by God's messengers that Jesus was the Son of God and that He was coming to Earth in human form so that He could be the Savior! But because of everything going on in Bethlehem, all the inns were full. Because of everything going on in Israel at that time, the rulers of Israel (Romans) were not in the mood to welcome a new "king." Jesus' birth, though, was perfectly timed to fulfill all the prophecies that had been made about His coming.
The Israelites had been promised a Savior like Jesus. Psalm 130:7 says, "Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption." Jesus was coming to redeem His people. For hundreds of years, they had this hope that God would send a Messiah, a Redeemer, to save them from their sins and bring them peace. They could not hope in riches or armies for spiritual salvation, but they could hope in the LORD!
This Christmas, you might have a lot of things on your wish list for presents or just wishes about life – and, as is the case with Cole and Gavin and their adopted little sister, it is ok to hope for some things. But what about your hope for salvation and peace with God? Are you hoping in God Himself?
God Himself is the main Source of our hope.
» Am I hoping for earthly things INSTEAD of God?
» How can I help others hope in God Himself?
Truth In Real Life
“Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!”
John Newton was born in London, the son of a hardworking shipmaster. Because of his father’s influence in his life, John Newton knew that he wanted to work on a ship one day.
John’s mother was a wonderful Christian lady who taught him much about God and the Bible. Unfortunately, John would not listen. This choice would cost him greatly as he grew older.
The life of a man who lives on a ship is often very difficult – and life for the young John Newton was no exception. In fact, things became so difficult, that he actually ran away. He was captured and sold to a slave ship were he was treated very harshly by his commander.
Once, during a terrible storm, John Newton knew that he was going to die. The waves crashed against the ship and everything was hopeless. He went to his cabin and wrote in his journal, “Lord, have mercy upon us.” Miraculously, he was spared. On May 10, 1748, God took hold of his heart and saved him. Ever after that, John would always speak of May 10, 1748, as the day that changed his life. He celebrated May 10th every year. He gave up drinking alcohol, gambling, and cussing. He spent his time studying the Bible and learning everything he could about his God.
A friend of John Newton’s father eventually rescued John and gave him the opportunity to own his own slave ship. He kept the ship for only a short time before he came to realize that the slavery trade was wrong. He chose to believe instead that every person has been made by God, every person is equal before God, and every person ought to be treated as a creation of God.
John Newton is most famous for writing the hymn “Amazing Grace.” He considered it the song that best described his own experience of God’s grace. What song most closely describes your Christian testimony?
John 9:25 – He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”