What you hope for…

Zion Church senior leader Phil Strong outside the church’s new Churchill St premises on Monday – which was also moving day

As I sit here in my office writing, I can feel the warmth of the sun on my back as the glorious day beams in from the outside. I’m hoping spring has sprung early this year, banishing the cold of winter and inviting the long, warm days of summer.

There’s much I hope for, and I base my entire existence on hope, hope for today, tomorrow and eternity.

In a world like ours, I find hope outside of myself a reassuring source of comfort and confidence. But I know many I speak to don’t hold the same. Perhaps you, dear reader, are lacking in hope?

This year is an election year and many of us are hoping for a change in the economic and social climate of our beloved country. Colours and politics aside, change is what we need. To have hope that my single vote will make a difference is as futile as yelling at the wind and expecting it to change direction. My hope is greater than that. I believe the Bible when it says, ‘there is no authority except by God’s appointment, and the authorities that exist have been instituted by God.’ Yes, I will vote and seek to vote wisely. However, my confidence rests in a Higher Authority.

The rising cost of living across our communities is crippling many, with families choosing between fuel and food, scrambling to pay rent or mortgage payments, and desperately hoping for less financial pressure. One financial commentator said recently, “to expect families to continue to tighten their belts is downright ridiculous.” Sooner or later, a tightened belt becomes a noose that kills. My hope is greater than that. I believe the Bible when it says, ‘Look at the birds in the sky: They do not sow, or reap, or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you more valuable than they are?’ Even amid challenging financial times, I choose to trust in the God of the heavens who looks after my needs.

I can’t avoid the necessity to speak about faith in this context. We all put our faith in something – even if you confidently state “there is no God,” you are putting your faith in that statement of belief. Faith can be defined as the confident assurance that what we hope for will happen. The problem with many peoples’ faith is that it is misdirected.

Misdirected hope is never positively helpful. When you put your confidence in the wrong place, you reap the foolishness of your faith.

I often say, to those who choose to listen, it’s more important who I put my faith in than what I put my faith in. To have all my confidence resting in an outcome is misdirected hope. The evidence around me suggests that I am better to direct my faith toward the person of God who cares for all of His creation.

In the same way I can confidently hope for the imminent emergence of spring, so, too, can I put my faith in the eternal God who cares for us all.

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