Speaking to the soul

 St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork

O Israel, hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is unfailing love. His redemption overflows. He himself will redeem Israel from every kind of sin.
Psalm 130:7-8 NLT

How hopeful are you? The media bombards us with reasons for anguish. But hope can still be born within the human heart, arising from trust, desire and aspiration. For me, circumstances joined with my mood and perspective can all too easily kill hope in its infancy. All that grows from such barren soil is cynicism and self-interest.

I have recently been doing some research into the early Church, in the days before the emperor Constantine legalised Christianity. The Christians met in secret for fear of persecution and therefore it was challenging for individuals to convert. The wider community, however, was grateful to the Christians, for everyone knew that in times of plague or famine, the Christians would offer care, financial help and support. They lived as instructed by Jesus, which is why we read in Acts that while not everyone joined them, the Christians enjoyed “the favour of all the people” (Acts 2:47).

Holding on to hope is a discipline, contested by the enemy. Once stripped of hope, we lose sight of God. God’s promise is that he is with us always (Matthew 28:20). Our challenge is to live with consistent confidence in that promise.

My daughter saw her earnings disappear overnight when the country shut down due to coronavirus. She’s in the entertainment industry. She also makes show costumes, but without shows, no one was investing in costumes. Her initial response was mild panic, but a few days later she phoned saying she was learning a lot about prayer. She somehow found hope.

The disciple must keep hope alive. If we are able to tap into it, it rises as the sap to enliven us and enable us to endure and encounter Christ.


How do you nurture hope?


Lord, I will hold onto you and the promise of brighter days, regardless.