The life that we are called to as Christians is a life marked by faith in Jesus. This faith does not exclude us from experiencing suffering, but instead leads us into the assurance that this is not the end.
God is there at the foundations. No matter the depths we fall to, He reaches beyond our rock bottom. The heights of His holiness and power will always surpass the lows of our despair.
And He knows this path, He walked to the cross and beyond it into death. We do not suffer alone, but instead draw closer to the one who willingly died and rose so that we might know true life.
This week we are reflecting on what it means to be active people of faith in times of hardship and suffering. What does it look like for us to wait and hope?
1 Out of the depths I cry to you, LORD; 2 Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.
3 If you, LORD, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? 4 But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
5 I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. 6 I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.
7 Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.
8 He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.
Psalm 130 reminds us that waiting and hoping require our participation – they are actions. We have the assurance that he hears our cry and will redeem us. But we have to take the step of reaching out to wait for help and deciding where we will place our hope.
Here we are going to explore some ways of choosing to actively wait and hope in the Lord. We would encourage you to have a go as well as exploring new ways yourself.
If you have access to a printer, print off the map of Edinburgh attached below. If you don’t have a printer, try drawing the Edinburgh skyline or the view you can see out your window.
Take coloured pens, pencils or watercolours and begin filling the streets with colour. As you do, pray for God’s hope to dawn upon them. Ask for his light to fill every lane and alley, every home, hospital, school and workplace represented there. Invite Holy Spirit to show you how you can be part of bringing hope there, in the waiting.
Taize is a form of meditative Christian worship. Lines of scripture or prayers are repeated to a melody that is easy for anyone to join in with. We would encourage you to listen to this song and join in worshipping. Focus on the words and allow the repetition of these truths to help clear your mind of worries and distractions. Wait on God and allow him to minister to you as you worship.
Wait for the Lord Taize:
One of the things people have always done in times of waiting through the night is telling stories. Sitting around a fire waiting for the dawn, sharing stories not only keeps the darkness at bay but it helps us to anticipate a time when we will again experience the light.
Thornton Wilder wrote that; hope is a projection of the imagination; so is despair”. God made us creative and gave us the potential to imagine what is not yet. We can use this power for hope or despair, to give our creativity over to imagining dark defeat or looking towards light’s victory.
When we journey with characters in a fairytale, novel or bible story we share their experience of difficulty and overcome it with them. Not using them as escapisim or to pretend that things in our
own world are not hard, but sometimes experiencing the victory of good in a story reminds us of the deeper truth that God’s goodness will always win for us.
Storytelling also involves others, it is not something we just do for ourselves. How can we use the power of good stories to encourage others around us, to help us wait for the dawn together? Maybe this looks like rediscovering some of your favourite books, sharing recommendations and reading alongside others, if you are stuck for ideas the Chronicles of Narnia are a great place to start! Or perhaps you have hope filled stories of your own to tell?
Dawn will come. Let’s share narratives that inspire hope and remind us of the light while we wait.