SUCH A HOPE
By ELMINA FABON FALLAR
IN my Bible reading, I see Joseph as an influential person, his influence soon used by God to feed surrounding nations and Joseph’s family during famine. How did Joseph become influential? He was sold into slavery (Genesis 39) - which produced a pearl of usefulness. Because God was with Joseph, he became better, not bitter. He named his first son, Manasseh. He named his second son Ephraim, which means “twice fruitful,” and he said, “God has given me children in the land of my trouble”. (Genesis 41:52)
Adversities are often blessings in disguise.
In the final chapter of Genesis, I read that as Joseph was dying, he said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will certainly take care of you and lead you out of this land to the land he solemnly promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” (Genesis 50: 24-26) Joseph asked his people to make a vow. “Promise me,” he said, “that when God leads you to that land, you will take my body with you.” So Joseph died in Egypt at the age of a hundred and ten. They embalmed his body and put it in a coffin. More than 300 years later, Moses took the bones of Joseph as the Israelites left Egypt. (Ex-13: 19)
For the next 40 years the people carried the ark with the tablets of the law and the bones of Joseph. The bones served as a reminder of their yesterday. The ark pointed to their tomorrow, for the tablets of the law anticipated the relationship they were to have with the Lord in the Promised Land. The ark and the coffin were reminders that the God who was leading them forward had been at work in their past. Assurance and hope were carried together.
We as God’s people today can have this same outlook when we gather. We remember with assurance that Jesus died for us (I Cor. 11:23-25), and we look forward with confidence to His return (V.26). This living hope encourages us as we live each day for Him.
Remembering Christ’s death gives us courage for today and hope for tomorrow.
Consider the words of the Lord through the prophet Joel. God told the people of Israel that even though they had been disobedient to Him and had been disciplined through a plague of locusts, there was still hope. The Lord said that He is “Kind and full of mercy; he is patient and keeps his promise; he is always ready to forgive and not punish” (Joel 2:13). Then He promised, “I will give you back what you lost in the years when swarms of locusts ate your crops. It was I who sent this army against you (V. 25).
When we confess our sin to the Lord, He is quick to forgive our past and fill our future with hope. He can bring good out of our wasted years. He does that by teaching us humility through our failures, and by helping us to understand the weaknesses we have in common with others.
Although our previous years may have been blighted by sin, God is eager to restore us and give us much fruit from our labor. What we have learned from the past can now result in productive service for Him and heartfelt Praise to Him. The year ahead is filled with hope!
No matter how dark your past, with Christ your future is bright. In 2011, a magnitude 9 earthquake and a resulting tsunami took nearly 19,000 lives and destroyed 230,000 homes in the region of northeast Tokyo. As a consequence, the Nozomi Project, named for the Japanese word for “hope”, was born to provide sustainable income, community, dignity, and hope in a God who provides.
Nozomi women sift through the rubble of homes and furnishings to discover broken China shards that they sand and insert into fittings to form jewelry. The jewelry is sold around the world, providing a livelihood for the women while sharing symbols of their faith in Christ.
In New Testament times, it was customary to hide valuables in the unlikely vessels of simple clay pots. Paul described how the treasure of the gospel is contained in the human frailty of followers of Christ: jars of clay (2 Cor. 4:7) He suggests that the meager -- and even at times broken vessels of our lives actually can reveal God’s power in contrast to our imperfections.
When God inhabits the imperfect and broken pieces in our lives, the healing hope of His power is often more visible to others. His repair work in our hearts often leaves the scars of cracks. Perhaps those lines from our learning are the etchings in our beings that make His character more visible to others.
Brokenness can lead to Wholeness.
A scientist is a person proficient in science or devote to scientific study or investigation. Some of them tell that in less than 10 million years the earth will be unable to sustain life because the sun will be too hot. It is a disheartening news for those who put all their hope in this world. It means that all of humankind’s accomplishments will one day be wiped out. For those who believe, this information is not surprising. “But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief. On that Day the heavens will disappear with a shrill noise, the heavenly bodies will burn up and be destroyed, and the earth with everything in it will vanish” (2 Peter 3:10) But it’s not depressing. On the contrary, we gladly wait for what God has promised: new heaven and new earth, where righteousness will be at home”. (V.13). This expectation becomes for us a powerful incentive for “holy conduct and godliness (v.11).
We also realize that our earthly lives have great importance, because through our prayers, our behavior, and our Christian witness we become partners with God as He works in the world. And one day, when He replaces our present cosmos with the perfect world, we will be given a place in our eternal home (John 14:2).
Because of our faith in Christ, we can be filled with joy and hope. The Lord wants to use our life in this world and He promises us a perfect world to come.
The future is bright if Christ is our hope.
(Culled from: Our Daily Bread Good News Bible)