From Heavy to Hope

Heavy.

I was trying to think of a word to best describe certain events from this past year, and that’s the word that I kept coming back to.

Heavy.

Webster’s Dictionary defines heavy as difficult to lift or to move.

Yup. I know that feeling.

In Greek the word heavy, or ademoneo, means to be troubled and is used to describe the Lord’s sorrow in Gethsemane.

Although we’ve all had events in 2020 that could only be described as heavy – we know that with that heaviness comes hope. We see that hope in an empty tomb just a few days later.

The heaviness is hard, but the heaviness keeps us humble. After all, we are called to be humble, but that can only happen when we are fully dependent on God.

So maybe parts of 2020 were heavy. Maybe parts broke us into pieces and brought us to our knees.

But maybe that’s where we found God. Maybe that’s where we found the hope we’d been longing for.

And maybe – just maybe – the hope that we obtained on our journey to Jesus will be the very same hope that someone on that path needs.

“Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope.” Psalm 16:9

New Mercies

Guest Post by Mrs. Jessica Konzen

His Mercies Are New Every Morning.

Webster’s dictionary defines mercy as “a compassionate or forbearance that is shown especially to the offender” or “a blessing as a divine act of compassion.”

“His mercies are new every morning” is a reasonably trendy scripture written on your favorite coffee mug or pallet sign from Hobby Lobby. The scriptural context needs explanation with the meaning all but dulled from the over usage and lack of theology. The book itself, Lamentations, means grief or deep sorrow.

The Prophet Jeremiah, also known as the “weeping prophet,” coined that famous phrase in time of great suffering. Much like today, the suffering seems unbearable. We are still amid a full-fledged pandemic with unspeakable amounts of fear. Racism is now an ever-present discussion; families are being ravaged and torn apart by unalignment and misguided principles; addiction and destructive behaviors are at an all-time high, and the church seems anything but unified.

The Prophet Jeremiah had proclaimed God’s message for many years, and the people of Jerusalem had turned a deaf ear; sound familiar? In these dark times, we feel swallowed up by the pain, and what’s even worse is if we cry out to God, we hear no reply.

Jeremiah compared that darkness to the tasting of the bitter herbs at the Passover feast or drinking bitter gall. Myrrh mixed with wine was used as anesthesia to deaden the pain, but when Jeremiah “drank,” itworsened his pain. Bitterness and brokenness mixed together. This is where the Prophet of Jeremiah felt the goodness of God was gone.

Do you feel that way? You indulge in one more drink when you know it causes more pain. Your child leaves rebellious and stiff-lipped—you’re at the point of divorce with no way out. You cry out, wondering where God has gone. But you see, Christ did not say that this life would be easy. He did not say follow me, and all will line up perfectly like that Instagram influencer you follow.

But right at the last cry of desperation, the Prophet Jeremiah had a turning point. The realization of God’s mercy, compassion, and faithfulness generated hope in Jeremiah’s soul, and his contemplation of trouble became a confession of faith. Today can be your turning point. Today can be the day you stop looking at your problems, the world’s problems, and focus on the promises of God. This is how hope is generated and how faith is activated!

Unbelief causes us to look at God through our circumstances, which creates hopelessness, but faith enables us to look at our circumstances through God’s reality and truth, which gives us hope. I hope that the promises of yesterday will be fulfilled in the joys of tomorrow. This is my prayer for you. That when all seems lost, broken, or bitter, you can cry out to an almighty God, sing of His praises, and be filled with His hope! And just as the Prophet Jeremiah cried out, I will cry out too that “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!!” Lamentations 3:22-23.