Seeking For Hope Amidst Crisis

after earthquake tsunamiIn times of crisis or natural calamities, most of us will have no difficulty praying to God for deliverance. This also very true when we find ourselves in the midst of extreme stress and fear, we can instantly pray and ask for God’s immediate intervention in our life. As one maxim goes, “there are no atheists in the foxholes”; it underscores this tendency of people to believe and hope for a higher power.

But when it comes to trusting God and fully submitting to Him all our lives, that’s another matter.  We think it as far fetched as to border on religious shallowness. We rely on our knowledge and material resources.

Where do your faith and security truly lie? With whom do you put your hope in?

By now most of us have probably seen how widespread and gruesome the images and pictures of the aftermath of a very powerful earthquake-triggered tsunami that almost wiped-out an entire town in Japan. We have seen footages of once bustling cities like Kesennuma, Ishinomaki, Iwate—from the Sendai, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures (respectively), now filled with mud.  City streets littered with debris of once beautiful houses, nice cars and luxury boats and ships, now turned into rubble by a strong torrent of sea waters. Death toll still on the rise and those who survived the onslaught are still searching for their missing loved ones. And, on top of this, the very alarming successive explosions of its nuclear facilities that could melt down and ignite apocalyptic nuclear catastrophes.

In a very rare televised address, the 77-year-old Japanese emperor Akihito encouraged his people and emphasized to never lose hope.

“I truly hope the victims of the disaster never give up hope, take care of themselves, and live strong for tomorrow,” said the emperor from his Imperial Palace.

It was a much-needed address to a beleaguered people but actually did little to provide understanding and alleviate the concern and fear of most people, wanting assurance and real security.

So where do our hope and comfort lie?

Let the words of the prophet Isaiah offered us some lasting consolations, Isaiah 40:

“Have you not known?

Have you not heard?

Has it not been told you from the beginning?

Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?

It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshopper,

Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,

And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.” (verses 21-22)

Moving forward in verse 25:

“To whom then will you liken Me,

Or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One.

Lift up you eyes on high,

And see who has created these things,

Who brings out their host by number;

He call them all by name,

By the greatness of His might

And the strength of His power;

Not one is missing.”

Why do say, O Jacob,

And speak, O Israel:

“My way is hidden from the LORD,

My just claim is passed over by my God.”(verses 25-27)

Do you not know? Have you not heard? For whom can we find hope? Let us follow the line of the continuing verses:

“The everlasting God, the LORD,

The Creator of the ends of the earth,

Neither faints nor is weary.

There is no searching for His understanding.

He gives power to the weak,

And to those who have no might He increases strength.

Even the youths shall faint and be weary,

And the young men shall utterly fall,

But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength;

They shall mount up with wings like eagles,

They shall walk and not faint.”(verses 28-31)

Whom do we wait for? We wait for the LORD eternal alone!

This kind of waiting is not merely passive. It is a dynamic and deliberate act of trust based on the full assurance of faith as exemplified by His son, Jesus Christ.

By dying on the stake, He made it possible for individuals and families, nations and tribes to come to Him with the promise of eternal hope.

“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:27-29

“This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:39-40

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away...” 1 Peter 1:3-4

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,  teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” Titus 2:11-14

You and I can trust God to help us not only in times of need or calamity but will even provide us the full assurance of a living hope. But this will come only thru a conscious and deliberate choice to put ourselves utterly under His will.

Indeed, hope springs eternal.*

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD. Jeremiah 17:7

*Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

-Alexander Pope (British Poet),
An Essay on Man, Epistle I , 1733

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