"You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light....
He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him."
- Psalm 18:28, 30b
Have you ever had one of those days when absolutely nothing seems to go right? I'm thankful that I haven't had one of those this week (yet!) but I've had plenty of them. And it's in times like that when I'm aware that I need to cling to the truths of Scripture like those found in Psalm 18 - truths like "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1), or "we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." (Romans 8:37) It's the days when everything's going well and there's nothing really to write home about that it's easier to forget that I'm still in the midst of a battle, and I still need Him to be my shield.
What if we took this Advent season to cultivate a deeper awareness of the hope that we always have? Romans 5:1-5 says this: "Therefore since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us."
I love the picture of hope Paul paints here. It's joyful - not desperate. I think it's totally okay to hope desperately - I mean, desperation drives us to God, right? And the psalms are packed chock full of desperate prayers, so we know that it's okay with God when we come to Him in desperation, and that He'll answer when we do. But what if we chose to hope joyfully - to pay attention daily to the fact that He is our hope - when things are going well? I wonder if it would change/deepen the confidence with which we'll hope when things aren't going well at all...
So here's my question: what can you (or what are you) going to do to cultivate hope in your heart today?