Word of the Month

Hope in God!

May 2014

In the Psalms we often find passages that attest to the fact that things are not going well for the psalmist. Often he is in distress and turns to God with the words: “Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go mourning?” He complains that his enemies come to him daily and revile him, saying: “Where is your God?” (cf. Psalm 42: 9). But the psalmist also gives himself the answer: “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God” (Psalm 42: 11).

I know that there are many faithful members who must live through these and similar circumstances. They are not doing well. They have to deal with injustice, live through difficult trials, and endure suffering and sickness. At such moments any of us might well ask the question: “Dear God, why have You actually forgotten me? What have I done wrong anyway? Where are You?” The people around us—perhaps even those closest to us—may even come and tell us: “Well, where is your God now? What is the good of all your faith?” But the Spirit of God gives us the answer: “Hope in God!”

Hoping in God means remaining firm in the belief that God will help. Despite all the evidence to the contrary in what we experience and what we can see, we remain firm in the belief that God will help! This is what it means to hope in God.

The Lord had to go through a similar situation. He had told His disciples about His death on the cross and had explained to them what was about to happen. In so doing, He realised more and more what was in store for Him. After all, He is both true Man and true God (Catechism 3.4). He said: “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.” Here we can practically feel the full weight that lay upon Jesus at that moment. Then a voice came down from heaven saying: “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again” (cf. John 12: 23-28).

When we are in distress, whether it is on account of the many difficulties we experience, the injustices, the suffering, the pain, or whatever else we go through, our first thought is usually: “Lord, save me from this hour!” And if His help does not materialise, we become even more distressed. And then the question arises: “What am I supposed to do now?” At that moment in His life, the Lord Jesus concentrated on His goal: “This hour is the whole reason I have come in the first place!” Even in our deepest need, let us always ask ourselves: “What is my goal? What do I want? What is my task? To what end am I a child of God?” Then the answer will also come to us: “I want to go to the Father. I want to have eternal fellowship with God. That is why I am here!” Why am I a Christian? In order to give testimony and go into the world and prove that I will remain faithful to the Lord even under these circumstances. That is the nature, the meaning, and the purpose of being Christian, namely to remain obedient to the Father, to follow Him, and to concentrate on our goal, even in the most difficult conditions: “I want to go home. I want to go to the Father. I want to be in eternal fellowship with the Lord Jesus!”      

(From a divine service by the Chief Apostle)