Written for The Youth Ministry Academy
Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. You are our hiding place; you will protect us from trouble and surround us with songs of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. – Psalm 32:6-7
Most can look back over the course of their lives and identify moments of despair. These moments are painted with colors of hopelessness, dejection, anguish, and gloom. The events that cause these feelings can even seem small and trivial to onlookers but deeply painful and profound to the one who is openly vulnerable, in a field of sorts, unprotected by the harsh winds of this world.
We’ve all felt that moment of breathlessness when we are almost to despair…tears rush forth, bodies hunch in heaviness, minds slow to sadness…then there is that moment, just before we’ve given over to it, we are touched.
The psalmist describes it as his hiding place, the place where God protects us and surrounds us with songs of deliverance. From somewhere, God sends us a song.
Hope is the direction we need when we have no idea where to turn. Hope is the counsel we receive from the Word that tells us to not be afraid, and that God will lead us beside still waters.
I recently talked to a young girl in my office who experienced the despair of not feeling loved, of not feeling valuable, of not feeling beautiful. That despair led to some choices that will likely haunt her past for many years to come. As we prayed, I could hear the song of hope resounding over her emptiness. I could see her breathing, almost as if she had been holding her breath for months. When I drove her home I could see a visible weight lifted. Nothing had changed for her really, except she had allowed the truth of God’s protection and counsel to break into hear pain and let some light in.
Hope is God’s loving eye on us. Hope is knowing that his eye gives us rest and lifts us to a place where the mighty waters will not reach us.
Hope is the protection children feel as help comes to their rescue after an earthquake.
Hope is the direction of the Spirit which leads a young person to say “yes” to the call to ministry.
Hope is the counsel that gives us an ability to love those who grieve.
Hope is the song we sing after we experienced great rejection.
Hope is the verb that allows us to preach the Gospel, because we know that the Kingdom will come.
Hope is freedom and hope is ours, wherever we find ourselves today.