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  • Writer's pictureMegan L. Anderson

Hope Renewed

Take a moment to refresh, refocus, and refine your faith.

“When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul” – Psalm 94:19

Cleopas and his fellow disciple trod their way along the road toward Emmaus, struggling to make sense of how their master’s life of miracles and liberating teachings could end in such an unjust execution. “But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel,” they explained to the stranger who joined them along their journey (Luke 24:21). After investing themselves in following the extraordinary rabbi from town to town, marveling at his power to cast out demons, restore sight to the blind, and raise the dead to life, their expectations of this mighty prophet had flamed their hopes for a freed Israel. But they watched as those hopes to see the hand of God overthrow their Roman oppressors were nailed to a cross and sealed away forever in a dank stone tomb.

Yet, in the midst of this disappointment and despair, “Jesus himself drew near and walked with them” (v. 15). They were just too caught up in their laments and self-focused concerns to recognize him. It was not until they laid their distractions aside to worship God and give thanks that “their eyes were opened” and they saw Jesus for who he is (v. 31).

We too can find ourselves preoccupied with disappointed hopes. We pray for liberation from oppressions like racial discrimination, opioid epidemics, political corruption, and unjust healthcare systems. We invest our faith in Christ’s teachings with hope that we will see his transformative power intervene on a grand scale. But often his redemptive work is not carried out how we expect. Instead of trodding through life debating about who is to blame and how to navigate the world’s problems, what if we focused our hearts on worship and thanksgiving? When we center our attention on the character of Jesus – his radical love, selfless sacrifice, and welcoming embrace – the eyes of our hearts are opened and our hope is renewed, compelling us to spread that hope to those who need it most. And we can do so with the assurance that Jesus himself is near, walking with us.

PRAYER: Faithful Jesus, thank you for not abandoning us to a broken world, but inviting us as participants in your redemptive work. As we see overwhelming needs mounting around us, may we keep our hearts fixed on you. Renew our hope and guide us to those with whom we can share it for your glory. Amen.

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