Immersed in Christ: December 9, 2020
Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent
Praise God for Hope
“They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength…”
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
We frequently make the mistake of looking at what God does—or doesn’t do—instead of looking at what God is.
We echo the complaint in Isaiah: “Doesn’t God see what is happening to me?” and “God doesn’t care that my rights are violated!” We don’t see God doing what we think he should be doing for us, and we presume to sit in judgment on him.
God answers by calling us to look at who he is. And what he is. To look at his history and his mystery: “Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these things… ‘To whom then will you compare me, or who is my equal?’ says the Holy One.”
“The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.”
We know from God’s dealings with his People that he “gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless.” We need to look at what is revealed, not at what is unrevealed; at the mystery of his power and love made evident in his history with humans—those parts of it that he has clarified—rather than at the unexplained parts that don’t make sense to our small minds within the limited scope of our human knowledge and understanding.
We need to praise God instead of complaining; to appreciate what he is instead of pronouncing judgment on what he does. If we praise him we will appreciate him. Then we can put our problems with him in perspective.
Praise makes us aware of what pain often obscures. Praise makes us aware of God’s goodness. It is the antidote for those who are “blinded by pain.” If we form the habit of praising God for his love, his love will be real to us. We will appreciate his love.
Then we will have hope. And those who “hope in the Lord will renew their strength,”
They will soar as with eagles’ wings.
They will run and not grow weary,
walk and not grow faint.
Praise gives hope, and hope gives strength. Those who have hope are able to endure. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” Those who have hope can relax even under stress. Praise God for hope.
“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains… My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1).
DAILY PRACTICE: Be aware. When your load is heavy, praise God for the part he is carrying.
ADVENT PRAYER: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits!”