‘Maybe 2022 will be better.’ It seems like just yesterday (12 days ago, to be exact) people were saying the same thing, except about the year 2021. Already, this New Year has been fraught with continued political unrest, a stubborn pandemic, anxiety, depression, and an overall feeling of dismay. In response, it has been remarkably easy to automatically assume the entire year will be terrible while hoping next year will be better. The general attitude of many I have observed is one of unenthusiastic acceptance of the way things are while seeking to find happiness and relief wherever it might be lurking.
And it’s true – these days have been tremendously difficult, and we are exhausted mentally, emotionally, and perhaps even spiritually. The reality of the state of the world is disheartening, and it certainly does no good to deny it. However, as believers, is this our whole story?
I would venture to encourage you by saying no! Our hope is not found in the changing of a calendar year or in our circumstances – repeatedly, Scripture encourages us with the truth that our hope is in the Lord. Here are a few things to remember about hope.
1. Hope is Realistic
For some of you reading, the past weeks and months have truly been a season of deep sorrow and trial. The beautiful thing about hope is that it is not some sort of wishy-washy, flippant attempt at feeling better. Rather, it is anchored in the truth of who Christ is and what He has done, and it remains true in the midst of sorrow and joy alike. The Psalms are full of honest laments to the Lord in which the author consistently places his hope in the Lord. If you are hurting, take heart – hope is for you.
2. Resist the Temptation to Hide Your Hope
Because of the difficulties surrounding us and present in the lives of those we know, it might be tempting to hide or downplay the hope we have. Especially if your life is not particularly difficult at the moment, it can be hard to know how to interact with those who are struggling. Remember, others need us to remind them – not obnoxiously or insensitively but gently and with love – of the hope we have in Christ. Don’t give in to the temptation to not share and potentially rob someone of a much-needed and refreshing reminder.
3. Hope Steadies Us
In the midst of these uncertain days, it is easy to feel disoriented or panicked. In these moments, hold fast to the truth that God is sovereign and allow Him to calm your heart as you think on the hope He has given us. The world might seem to be going crazy, but He is still in control and walking with us every moment of every day. Remember what Jesus says, ‘But take heart; I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33b).