Sun poking through trees

A Simple Practice To Renew Our Hope During Hard Times

Harvest Partner — February 19, 2021

In a recent staff prayer meeting I felt led to share from Psalm 107. I had been pondering its content and asking what the Lord was saying in this ancient text that would instruct us in the way we should live now.

Psalm 107 recounts the salvation history of God’s people. It is also an exhortation to give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and for hearing and answering prayer. The psalm repeatedly highlights the fact that God hears the prayers of those in need and he saves them. This call to give thanks to the Lord was in contrast to cries for rescue from despair and desperate situations.

Recited in community generation after generation, it was on the lips of His people as a refrain, reviewing their history and remembering the faithfulness of God. It would have provided information, instruction and encouragement in the moment, but also hope for the future.

Is there a lesson for us today from this ancient practice?

Now like never before, we are bombarded with voices that repeat fearful things, desperate things, dark and foreboding things, all the time. However, we have a choice: we can either rehearse the present troubles over and over in our minds or we can choose to devote more attention to God and His unchanging faithfulness and unfailing love, even while we keep an eye on the news.

It’s a fact that what we focus on takes up more space in our thoughts and, consequently in our emotions, and then it’s on repeat. My recommendation is that we focus on what we absolutely need to keep on repeat! Matthew opens his gospel with the annunciation of Jesus’ coming into the world and says that He is the long awaiting Immanuel, which means, God with us. He also closes his gospel account in a bookend sort of way by repeating the promise: “…surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”. And friend, He is with us no matter what. This needs to be on repeat!

As we navigate through another season of uncertainties, I invite you to take up this most valuable practice. It can help us be encouraged, strengthened and be God’s hope-filled steady people.

Here are simple steps to get started:

  1. Remember. Take a pen and paper, or keyboard, and make a list of God’s merciful interventions in Scripture. Then make a list of His good deeds on your behalf throughout your lifetime. Reflect and muse over these precious times.
  2. Give thanks specifically, thoughtfully and humbly. Pause and say the words of thanksgiving and praise for God’s wonderful actions on your behalf.
  3. Receive inwardly. Welcome His peace and hope, the emotional strength and endurance that only He can give. Breathe it in with confidence in His unfailing love.
  4. Announce. Tell others about His wonderful deeds. The psalmist actually tells us to do so. Talk it up with fellow believers, but don’t stop there. Others need to hear about the God who is with us and who offers salvation and eternal life.

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