If the heartache of 2020 was confined to a pandemic and civil unrest, things might be a little more manageable. But the craziness out there hasn’t put an end to the things that go wrong in our homes and churches. Sometimes the troubles roll in like waves and you find yourself shakily pulling yourself up only to have the next wave come crashing down. In those times I shake my head and think, “Surely, surely that was the last wave. Certainly things will calm down a bit soon.” My hope can become fixed in seeing an end to my waves of trouble. “Please God, no more waves, at least for a while?”
The author of Psalm 42 experienced the crashing waves. He writes about his downcast soul and inward turmoil, and says in verse 7, “Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me.” I can identify with the author’s sense of being caught in the crashing waves, but I have found another kind of wave that God brings, just as sure and certain and powerful as the pounding of the surf.
In Romans 15:13 Paul writes, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” “Abounding in hope” is a phrase suggesting that there is an overflow, a huge supply, enough hope for the believer that it can come in powerful waves. As I read this it hits me – for every wave of trouble that comes crashing down, God has an even more abundant wave of hope headed my way. That wave of hope can be mine just as certainly as the wave of trouble is mine. The beauty of it is there is no twelve step process to receiving this wave of hope. The verse gives us only one – believe.
Sometimes I find my wave of hope seems reduced to more of a mud puddle. The Psalmist echoed this experience as well when he asked in Psalm 42:11, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?” The answer Paul gives us in Romans is that belief is the key to turning our mud puddle of hope into a crashing wave. I have to ask myself, “What am I not believing that God has said is true? If I really took God at His Word in this situation, how would I see this all differently?” I don’t need to fight for hope. I simply need to fight against unbelief, and the hope will come.
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