Psalm 42: 5-6, Psalm 62: 5-6, 2 Thessalonians 2: 16-17, Romans 15: 13

Rachel Nixon
Rachel Nixon

'Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Saviour and my God.' (Psalm 42:5-6)

With the Christmas rush now well and truly over, and a new year started I began to ponder the busy month that is December. Before Christmas I was quite rushed,
going here and there doing all things youth-workery, getting slightly sad at the commercialism of Christmas and all that it brings. Looking back if I'm honest I was feeling down, I didn't have much hope for January and the New Year. As sometimes happens I felt like I was the only one feeling like this (I'm sure that feeling is familiar to all of us, not just me). However, the Psalmist as we read above, seems to be questioning the same issue, hope: when things seem tough. And I think it's true for all of us, when things get tough, it is hard to look forward to the future. Read carefully what it says in the Psalms...

'Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Saviour and my God." (Psalm 42:6)

'Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.' (Psalm 62:5-6)

It seems easy to read, but hard to actually comprehend but however tough things get, focus on God, put your hope in Him, because lets face it, He's the only one who is not going to let us down! What more hope could we need? He
is the rock, a fortress and author of salvation!

I like to ponder an example from a book I read, a story entitled: A Heavenly Toast*. The year is 1540, and we're in England. Having refused to deny his Christian beliefs, Anthony Parsons and those with him were lead to the stakes on which they were to be burned. When he got there Anthony asked for a drink. With it he turned and toasted his fellow sufferers: "Be merry, my brethren, and lift up your hearts to God; for after this sharp breakfast I trust we shall have a good dinner in the Kingdom of Christ, our Lord and Redeemer." During this toast, a fellow sufferer lifted his hands and eyes to heaven and commended his spirit to the Lord. When they reached the stake, he held some of the straw and told the spectators: "This is God's armour, and now I am a Christian soldier prepared for battle. I look for no mercy but for the merits of Christ; He is my only Saviour, in Him do I trust for salvation."

I read that story just the other day and thought, wow! Here are Christian martyrs, within inches of death, still standing completely firm in their faith.
Situations don't get much tougher than this! I started to think about me in that situation, where would my hope be in that tough time, a rescuer? A fluke of nature that allows no flame to take light? A change of heart in our persecutors? Or Jesus? Parsons says to his fellow sufferers: "I trust we shall have a good dinner in the Kingdom of Christ, our Lord and Redeemer." He is standing minutes before death and his hope is totally focused on God. He knows his faith and is secure in his martyrdom. He has true hope in a truly desperate, tough situation.

And so my prayer for all of us this week is: We know that God our Father loves us. He is kind and has given us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope. I pray that our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father will encourage you and help you always to do and say the right thing. (2 Thessalonians 2: 16-17) I pray that
God, who gives hope, will bless you with complete happiness and peace because of your faith. And may the power of the Holy Spirit fill you with hope. (Romans
15: 13). No matter how tough things get, remember however hard it seems that we have a secure hope in Jesus, a hope that will never be put to shame!

* 'Jesus Freaks' Volume 2, DC Talk. Bethany House publishing. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.