But I will hope continually
and will praise you yet more and more.
My mouth will tell of your righteous acts,
of your deeds of salvation all the day,
for their number is past my knowledge.
With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come;
I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone.
O God, from my youth you have taught me,
and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. (Psalm 71:14-17)
Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterwards you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever. (Psalm 73:23-26)
I was reading an article in a gardening magazine recently where the writer asked the question, ‘which season of the year would you consider to be the most hopeful?’ He said that most gardeners would probably reply spring, as that is the season of new growth when there is evidence all around us of life starting afresh again. Interestingly while watching a gardening programme last week on the television the presenter commented that she finds spring the most hopeful season exactly in line with the suggestion of the writer of the magazine.
The writer of the magazine article however had a different season in mind as the most hopeful. He suggested that winter was the most hopeful season. He went on to explain that it is easy being hopeful in spring, it is after all in spring when we see new leaves appearing on the trees and we watch as the tops of bulbs pop up out of the soil. It is in winter when the gardener needs to be hopeful, as in that season there is little or no evidence of what is to come but still the gardener believes that great things will happen and plants will grow again.
This got me thinking about Advent, a time when we look forward to celebrating the arrival of Jesus as a baby that first Christmas day, but we also look forward to the second coming of Jesus when he will come in glory. Some of us might feel like that there is little evidence around us of Jesus’s second coming but we are asked to live in the hope of an eternity spent with him.
I am currently reading my way through the book of Psalms and have been struck by how the different writers of the Psalms often tell God about all the afflictions that they are experiencing and the difficult times that they are living through and then they say, but, or nevertheless, and state how their hope is in God.
Whatever your experience is this Advent, how dark things may seems, may you be able to say with the Psalmist that you will hope in God continually and praise him more and more.
Prayer (Psalm 25:4-5)
Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Saviour,
and my hope is in you all day long.