Choose hope

By Bishop L. Jonathan Holston

“Come, behold the works of the Lord; see what desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. ‘Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations; I am exalted in the earth.’ The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.”—Psalm 46:8-10 (NRSV) 

We serve a mighty God! The Alpha and Omega. An invincible ruler. The one to whom nothing is impossible. Indeed, we serve a mighty God.

And yet, the reality of this broken world is that there are times when the seas of life get rough and chaos seemingly presses in on every side. In these moments of urgency and confusion, the temptation is to “do something” and to act quickly, to lean on your own understanding rather than putting your hope and trust in God.

But no matter what life throws at you, you’ve got to have hope.

The psalmist proclaims the glory and power of God with a direct reminder to “be still.” We are not simply being still and wondering what will happen. In the stillness, we exercise hope—trusting, believing and knowing that God is with us.

Hope is not a naïve notion that nothing bad will ever happen, but it is the knowledge that the sun will rise again, and life will go on. You will make it to the other side of the storm.

Our God is the God that speaks order out of chaos. Our God calms the seas, and our God is our refuge. We have only to surrender ourselves to the power and might of Jehovah to find the courage and hope our souls need for the journey.

And once you surrender, when you are finally still, it is then that God does the work of transformation: recalibrating trust, increasing hope and helping you to see with the eyes of Christ rather than through your own imperfect vision. Nothing has to be forced; in fact, you cannot actually force transformation anyway. Our job is simply to show up, be still and make space for God to do the work of transformation within our souls. 

Surrendering to God gives us clarity about the most faithful next step. Surrendering to God heightens our awareness of the voice of Jesus over the cacophony of noise the world produces. Surrendering to God allows us to prepare for our role in God’s chosen future.

For God does not call the equipped; God equips the called. Hope is trusting that God will prepare you.

We cannot control the surrounding circumstances of our lives, but we can choose intentionally to live with hope, trusting the future to Jesus Christ, our sustainer and caretaker of our souls. Choosing hope is recognizing that even though you can’t change the current, you can always adjust your sails.

When we choose daily to live with hope, God works within us to make us the people we need and ought to be. We might not have all the immediate answers, but we will have clarity of purpose and motivation to take the next faithful step—seeing clearly that we do, indeed, serve a mighty God.

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