Disappointment and discouragement are the great disruptors to hope. And often they seem to work in tandem to convince us to give up hope. Disappointment is real and so often likes to present evidence of where hope failed us. Then discouragement swoops in behind disappointment and validates our feelings of disappointment and sadness. The goal of their tandem work is to stay present as long as possible in order to lead us to hopelessness.
There is nothing wrong with discouragement and disappointment, they are real and they happen for very valid reasons. It’s when they camp out too long in our hearts, overstay their welcome and begin to damage our filter so much that we can’t seem to find hope. They usher in uncertainty. And we as a whole world have lived in uncertainty all year long. As waves of discouragement would hit me during so much uncertainty, I would remember how Jesus wired us to look to him who is always certain.
That’s what I love about Advent, it takes the waiting and uncertainty of what tomorrow brings from despair to breathless anticipation. It gives us the grace to be uncertain about the world but certain about Jesus. Advent teaches us to look at the great promise and wait with holy expectation of what’s to come, while reminding us of what good can be found in today.
“Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life– gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation.” Oswald Chambers
“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty…” Malachi 3:1
God, I thank you for the gift of hope that we have in you. I thank you that you created us with the capacity to hope. May we find rest in the knowledge that you are faithful and you never fail us. Thank you that because of Jesus, hope will always be alive. I pray that we would spill out hope to everyone we encounter. May we be people who make hope contagious this week, sing out your goodness and keep our hearts certain in your word.