Sunday, December 18, 2016

A Prayer

Father, 

We enjoy many, many good things from You. Some of them are ours because of how You created us and this world in which we live. But then, we enjoy many, many good things from You because of how You redeemed us. Jesus has come, and He rescued us. 

And over the years we have heard more times than we can count of how good You have been to us as a Redeemer. And it's all true. We enjoy so much good because Jesus has come.

And yet, Father, if we're going to be honest with You, we need to also say that there are times when it doesn't feel like we enjoy good. Life just gets hard. Some of these difficulties are actually pretty brief. They still hurt, but not for terribly long. But, there are those other times when the difficulties last. There have been times when we have hurt quite a bit and for quite a while.

So, Father, we want to thank You in particular for one of the gifts You sent our way when Jesus came. We thank You for hope.

You have given us something to hope for. And we are grateful that this hope isn't just some story or myth that’s just supposed to deaden our pain. The blessing that we hope for is real. It is something that we will experience. Our eternity is bright. You guarantee it to us. The day will come when we will enjoy it fully.

But - and this is so very good - You understand us. You understand how very weak we actually are. So, along with giving us something to hope for, You give us the ability to continue to hope for it. And this is really good, Father. In our saner moments we see glimpses of reality. We see that, left to ourselves, we wouldn't be able to hold on to that hope, not even for a moment. We really are helpless.

We try to hide from that. We lie to ourselves that it isn't really all that bad. But it is. Sin has done its work. It has been very good at messing us up. So, we thank You that, by the Spirit, we are able to continue to hope, even when everything in us and around us is saying that it's hopeless.

We thank You for this gift, the hope of the Gospel which we enjoy by the Spirit. Help us to do better at believing this part of the Gospel so that we might live in such a way that the people around us will see how good You are and be drawn to You through Jesus.
Psalm 33.18

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