Summary: Hope is what enables us to see that silver lining around the dark clouds and makes us look for a rainbow during the rainstorm.
I) Eighteen months ago, I embarked on a journey. I packed up my belongings and headed from Kansas to Northern California to begin a new life. I had been divorced for almost a year, and I had begun a relationship with a wonderful woman from San Diego, CA.
The little furniture that I had along with my pots and pans and plates and collection of mugs had all been packed in boxes and were shipped via a moving company. I even shipped my car as my fiancé, Ceci, didn’t want me driving by myself over the 1700 mile trip.
The most important thing that I took on this journey was something called hope. I was putting the past behind me. I was putting 15 years of life in Kansas and serving churches in Kansas behind me and I was looking forward to a new adventure.
I came here to Northern California with hope for a good life, hope for healing, and hope for a successful ministry with the church I was coming to serve as interim minister.
My hope wasn’t a result of crying out because of sorrow – my hope was a result of anticipating the new life that God had in store. Rather than be anxious about picking up roots and resettling in a whole new state – I was placing my trust and hope in the God who called me.
II) Last week – as we explored the connection between faith and emotions, I gave you a practical definition of “hope”.
Hope is what enables us to see a silver lining around the dark clouds. Hope makes us look for a rainbow during the rainstorm. Hope is what causes us to sing out loud, “The sun will come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow they’ll be sun.”
I would add that hope is seeing the possibilities beyond the circumstances and opportunities that God gives to you each and every day.
I love the word “journey” as a metaphor for life – especially for our spiritual life with God. You and I are on a journey – not a physical journey – but a journey called life. And the most important thing we can take with us is that thing called “hope”.
III) Psalm 77 is attributed to Asaph – one of the primary musicians and choir directors in David’s court. One of his responsibilities as a musician was to sound the cymbals during special services. He was also recognized as a prophet and spiritual leader of Israel.
Psalm 77, following the method of many other psalms, begins with sorrowful complaints yet ends with expressions of comfort, hope, and encouragement.
The complaints seem to be personal grievances, but the encouragements relate to the community at large.
David was facing opposition as a King. Other men, including one of his sons, believed that they could do a better job at being King than David. David was aware of other nations who wanted him dead and gone. Asaph, the choir director and writer of this Psalm would have known about David’s worries and fears about his enemies; he might have even had similar fears since he was so close to the King.
The psalmist complains here of the deep impressions which his troubles have made upon his spirit, and the temptation he had in falling in despair to the worries he had. He encourages himself to hold onto hope as he remembers all that God has done for him and for his nation. He has hope that he and his nation would find healing and wholeness, strength and protection.