Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Where's The Hope?

Another Thanksgiving is upon us and soon to follow, the first Sunday of Advent. However, it doesn't appear these days that many are very hopeful. Since the election I have experienced an overall increase in fear and distress from many of the clients who come for counseling. I am especially dismayed when I hear hopelessness from those clients who profess faith in Jesus Christ. During the whole long ordeal of the campaign and the negative rhetoric from both sides, I have been consistently reminding clients that God is sovereign. He already knew who would be occupying the White House and He is not upset or dismayed. Whatever the outcome it all fits into God's overall plan. Yet, when the results of the election started to pour in, many people were shocked and disappointed at what they had perceived as an easy victory for one of the candidates. What was even more disturbing is the apparent division that seemed to occur between brothers and sisters in Christ. We as the body of Christ did not necessarily provide a good example to the world of offering hope in the midst of despair, of demonstrating peace in the midst of chaos. Lest we forget that the political struggles that we have experienced and its aftermath are nothing new in the history of humanity. Centuries ago, a nation and a people were in turmoil. The Jews were being occupied by a government that they did not like which forced them to comply with laws that at times were contrary to their belief in the one true God. Furthermore, the ruler at the time happened to be a narcissistic, insecure man named Herod (Matthew 2) who was so paranoid that scholars state he actually murdered members of his own family who he thought were plotting against him. It was this same Roman government that decreed a census to be taken of the entire Roman world, necessitating that Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem to comply with the law. (Luke 2:1-7) Furthermore, upon receiving the news that the King of the Jews had been born, Herod in his fear of losing his rule, ordered the death of all the boys in Bethlehem that were under two years of age. Can you imagine the horror and devastation experienced by those families who lost their children? The grief and agonizing pain of watching your child murdered and the helplessness of being unable to stop it. (Matthew 2:16-18) If that weren't enough Mary and Joseph had to go on the run with their child not back to their home in Nazareth but to another country all together which was Egypt.(Matthew 2:13-14) How long Jesus and his parents were in Egypt is not known, nevertheless their world had been turned upside down. It was overwhelming enough for Mary and Joseph to be told that she would carry and bear the Savior of the world but now this child's birth was changing everything! Therein, lies the point. Jesus' birth changes everything and those who call themselves His followers are the bearers of this good news to the world. Followers of Christ need to be the standard bearers. We need to bring the hope of the world to the reality of the situations and circumstances over which we have no control. God did not wake up on November 9th surprised by the outcome of the election. Instead, God is calling us to remember that He is the One who alone is trustworthy. He alone knows the beginning and the end. He writes the story and has already let us in on the ending. For God has provided us with the answer to our deepest longings and our darkest fears. His name is Jesus. So as we gather around our Thanksgiving tables, let us "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever." (Psalm 107:1)  Some may think that what I am proposing is unrealistic and idealistic. Believe me, I understand the anxiety as a black woman that some may be experiencing. However I have a choice to make about how I will respond whether it be in fear or in faith. As Advent draws near I am reminded of the words of an old hymn,The Solid Rock, that remains as true today as when it was penned years ago, "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus' Name. On Christ the solid Rock I stand; All other ground is sinking sand, All other 
ground is sinking sand."
May you enjoy a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving!
Pastor Sheree

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