Waiting for Hope
“The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hears, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me” (Matt.11:4-6).
We have Thanksgiving, and after Thanksgiving, we will have the season of Christmas even though we are experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic. We had snow earlier this year, but we do not know how cold this winter will be and how long the COVID-19 pandemic will be around us. Nevertheless, we know that winter will be cold, and spring will come after winter. We do not feel sad for the field covered with snow and for the tree that lost its leaves because we know spring brings the green fields and leaves again.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought much sadness. Most feelings of sadness might be experiencing loss. We lost loved ones, jobs, shelters, and even hope. One of our parishioners told me, “I have never experienced so many people dying in my life except during War II. I don’t know how many of those that have died now are because of the pandemic.” Perhaps, COVID-19 might be a medical, emotional, and spiritual war. While we are experiencing the pandemic, we may feel we have been faced with similar experiences of war: The medical workers perhaps have been feeling the same; Some people fear being brokenhearted, addiction, depression, isolation, and hopelessness; Some people have been experiencing the loss of loved ones, the loss of jobs, the loss of shelters, the loss of relationships, and the loss of hope; and many people perhaps have been losing their faith in God. The COVID-19 pandemic perhaps leads to broken relationships, judging each other between countries, between communities, between people, and between the west and east and the north and south. Furthermore, COVID-19 leads people to curse, hate, and grumble at each other.
However, it is time to stop the bad things. No more to be destroyed by COVID-19. There is an oasis in the desert; there is a way in the wilderness. As long as we believe in the Lord, the Lord will be with us. Do not focus on the problems, but focus on the Lord. Let us expect that God will work it out. Let us move forward toward hope!
There was a man who was waiting for the Lord for his whole life long. His destiny was to prepare for the way of the Lord. He did not drink at all, and he did not enjoy his life, as did others. He did not have his home. He lived in the wilderness, eating locusts and wild honey and wearing camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist. Many people thought of him as a crazy man. However, he believed that it was his ministry in God, which is preparing for the way of the Lord. He is John the Baptist. Finally, he met Jesus and baptized him in the Jordan River. And John the Baptist assured that he is the Lord Jesus Christ at that moment.
Nevertheless, before he died in prison, he might want to ensure whether Jesus is the Messiah, who he waited for his whole life. So, he sent his disciples to Jesus. And, asked: “Are you the one who is to come, or do we have to wait for another?” John the Baptist might urgently want to know that Jesus is the Lord, whom he waited for. Jesus answered the people, who were sent by John the Baptist, “Go and tell John what you hear and see”: “The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me” (Matt.11:4-6). Jesus says that “blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me” (Matt. 11:6). In the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible, “blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.” In other words, if you do not disappoint the Lord, the blessing is yours.
Many Christians live in their belief of Christ, proclaiming the good news, reaching out to the people, evangelizing people, making lifelong sacrifices because of Jesus Christ. They would sometimes give up their joyful life for Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, they are disappointed at the chaotic situation in the world. Finally, some of them leave their faith in God with disappointment at the Lord. They might think if God is there, COVID-19, wars, natural disasters, and unjust violence would not have happened. Some believers may doubt if everything they believe in God is in vain. If Jesus is fake, how poor are Christians? For over 2000 years, all Christians over the world are going to be crazy.
However, we are sure that Jesus Christ is our savior. He died on the Cross to save us from our sin, and then, he resurrected from the dead to give us hope for eternal life. He promised us that he would be with us until the end of the world. And he also promised us that he would come again soon before the end of the world. Therefore, we are waiting for Jesus Christ, who is coming to us again and bringing hope, peace, joy, love, and light to the world. Even though our life gives us difficulties, and the world has chaotic situations, we hope in the promise of Christ.
We do not know when he will come back exactly. Only God knows it. However, for sure, as it was the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Lord. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, and marrying, up to the day Noah entered the ark they knew nothing.
The season of “Advent” begins soon. The word “Advent” is from “Adventus” in Latin, and it is translated to “Parousia” in Greek, which means “coming” or “arriving at.” Advent in the Christian calendar means “the season that is waiting for the Lord Jesus Christ”. In the season of Advent, we light five unique candles; three purples, one pink or red, and one white. Until Christmas Day, we light one by one. Each candle has a special meaning. The first candle is the symbol of hope; the second is peace; the third is joy; the fourth is love, and the fifth white candle symbolizes the light of Christ. It symbolizes that Jesus Christ comes to the dark world as the light with hope, peace, joy, and love. As Jesus comes into the world, we pray that Jesus brings us hope, peace, joy, love, and light in the world. Therefore, we begin the Advent season with these candles waiting for hope, peace, joy, love, and light that Jesus Christ brings us.
Let us be faithful in daily life. As Noah built the ark for 120 years, and John the Baptist did so, we might be waiting for our entire life. However, let us live in hope toward the Lord building the church up, outreaching people, evangelizing people, and making them disciples of Jesus Christ until Jesus returns. Do not give up hope, peace, joy, love, and light in the world because the good news spreads out to people, and our prayers will be answered, and God’s miraculous work continues.
Pastor Jenny Lee