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Ouachita Stories


Hoping for change

Observing Advent

Ouachita Christmas ornamentsDecember 03, 2020 - Ray Franklin

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
                                                                                                                                                                   ~ Romans 15:13

How do you feel about the year 2020?

A few weeks ago, I saw a post on social media that gave 2020 a star rating – like you would see for a product sold online. The rating for 2020 was one star out of five. The accompanying comment was, “Not recommended.” I smiled. Someone had found a sense of humor in what has proven to be a very difficult year. The question is, will 2021 be any better?

I hope so. Don’t you? That is the thing about hope. Hope expects things to change. Hope says someday, maybe someday soon, our troubles and struggles will come to an end. Life will be better than it is today.

We hope in many things.

We hope in others. We hope in governments and institutions. We hope in medical professionals and pharmaceutical companies.

We hope in the future. We hope in things not seen. Somewhere out there, just over the horizon, just around the bend, is the thing we hope for. If only we can get around that bend.

But most of all, we hope in Jesus.

The baby born on Christmas day is the man who stood in a synagogue and claimed to be the fulfillment of all Messianic prophesy. He is the one who calmed the seas and walked on water. He is the one who healed the sick and cast out demons. He is the Lamb Who Was Slain, the only one worthy to deliver life to the faithful and judgement to all who are evil. Jesus is the one who conquered sin, death and the grave. He has gone to prepare a place for us, and He will come someday to take us there. The trumpet shall sound, and we shall be changed!

In the meantime, we hope.

The year 2020 has added a new term to our vocabulary: “pandemic fatigue.” Months of frustration and loss have worn us out physically, mentally and emotionally. For some of us, these months have been merely inconvenient, a nuisance to navigate as supplies run low, the economy slows and patience wears thin. For others, these months have brought serious illness, loss of income and even loss of life – their own or the lives of loved ones.

But hope changes everything. Hope sees the value in suffering for the sake of our souls. The trials of this world serve only to increase our hope.

So, as we say goodbye to 2020, we take courage in knowing the end of our troubles is drawing near. Nothing can thwart the purposes of God. We may live in a sad and broken world, but someday things will change. Until then, we hope.

May the God of hope fill us all with joy and peace this Christmas!


Ray FranklinBy Dr. Ray Franklin, professor of Christian missions