“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” 1 Peter 3:15b
The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” Lamentations 3:19-24
“Yet I still dare to hope!“
I dare to hope because Jesus is faithful to me, even when I am not faithful to him. I dare to hope because Jesus loves me and stands with me in the face of every fear, every loss, every failure. But also, in the best times of my life; for my life has been blessed. It would be impossible for me to ever list the gifts, the love, the joys, the celebrations, that have been poured into my life. Unearned grace on every side.
God has been good to me.
Yet I have also known suffering, deep sorrow, and pain. I have cried out how long. I have worried for the future. I have grieved for my inadequacies. I have questioned my faith. I have judged myself cruelly and held myself in contempt.
I’ve watched a world torn asunder by political unrest, disregard for human suffering, selfishness, violence, war, and environmental catastrophes. And I’ve walked with congregations who are worried for their future; exhausted from their efforts to hold their community together; and struggling to grow.
“Yet I still dare to hope!”
As that old Gospel hymn standard proclaims: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ, the solid rock, I stand: all other ground is sinking sand.”
As we continue to our resurrection experience from the pandemic, from the crises of this world, from the changes in our communities, from the exhaustion that too often holds us like a grave, let us hope in Christ. I dare to hope in his love and his promise of new life. His love has never once abandoned me—even me. His mercy begins afresh every morning. New life is born out of every sorrow, every worry, every fear, every loss, every death.
Jesus is my hope. I pray he might be your hope. He will always be the Church’s hope.
As we prepare for Diocesan Convention, I invite you to pray and reflect on how Jesus is your reason to hope.