Read Isaiah 60:19-22
The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended. Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified. The least one shall become a clan, and the smallest one a mighty nation; I am the Lord; in its time I will hasten it.
· How does it make you feel knowing that each day rests in God's hands?
· In what ways has hope in the Lord changed your life?
· How is the hope God gives us different from worldly hope?
Hope has become a hot topic in psychology and in ministry. Researchers and ministry professionals alike are coming to realize that hope is more than just a squishy feeling--a determination to keep our rose-colored glasses on even in the darkest of circumstances.
Psychologists define hope as the will and determination to achieve a goal and a set of strategies to do so. They are finding that hope plays a key role in all types of success including academic and athletic.
Isaiah's description of Israel's new day reminds me of three important aspects of hope. First, hope is absolute necessary for all of us. It was a dark time in Israel and they daily felt the oppression and threat of their enemies. Such conditions lead to despair. Their circumstances dragged them down and they needed God's promises to lift them up.
Second, in contrast to the psychology definition of hope, their hope didn't rely on their own strategies. Rather they had a will and determination to keep living because their Lord promised them a new day. In his power, He says that He will rebuild and restore them.
The third important aspect of hope rests on who God is. In this case, Israel receives a specific promise from God. At other times, there is no promise of a new day for our circumstances. That is, we may not receive specific healing for a physical problem or restoration of a relationship or the job we hoped would provide security for our family. It's at those times that our hope rests in knowing that our God loves us completely. Each of our days rests in His hands and that is the safest place for them to be.
Gracious Lord, you are my source of hope in this dark and difficult world. May my trust in you and your promises grow wider and deeper with each passing day. Amen.