Hope shines


Ping. Ping. Ping.

The heavy raindrops on the roof jolt me from my dream-infused sleep.

Jesus . . . a light flickering amidst the backdrop of despair.

Flushed. Heart racing. I’m frozen by fear. The last scenes of war and terror slowly fade from before my eyes. And then reality starts to sink in. It was just a bad dream—I’m in my bedroom, safe and secure.

Peace starts to wash over me, but is quickly swept up in a fresh wave of anxiety as my mind rationalises what brought on the nightmare.

The Martin Place shooting. Planes mysteriously exploding and crashing. Fighting in Syria. Multiple terror attacks in Paris. These events and more cross my mind in quick succession, and my heart grows heavy again. How can so much happen in under a year?

It’s not a dream. We’re living it. This world has gone crazy!

Sin dominates. Pain. Hurt. Suffering.

Sure, there’s temporary joys and pleasures. But we yearn for peace, safety and security which slowly appear to be escaping our grasp. 

How much longer can we go on like this? How much worse will it get? How soon before it comes closer to home? 

As I look at the growing brokenness, my heart cries out to God. Given that these are the signs of birth-pains looming and peoples eternities at stake, How should I live? What more can our family be doing, than just the daily grind?

And then the trap instantly unfolds as satan’s lies flood my mind: It’s all despair; there’s no hope. Who do you think you are? You’re inadequate. You can’t make a difference. Besides people don’t even care; leave them be. What a waste of time to even try. It’s impossible! 

Do you share this same yearning in your heart, only for it to be stifled by fear and the enemy’s lies? A yearning to be and do more for God’s Kingdom, yet satan sneakily leads you off track to fill that void with more busyness, more stuff, more food, more google/social media, more fear, more insecurity, more despair . . . ? 

On our own, we are doomed. Following this path of satan’s “mores”, will only fill our hearts with less of all that God intends for us, even in the midst of living in this dark world. Less hope, less peace and security, less of a relationship with Him and others, less abundant living. 

But hope is not all lost.

“The Word [Jesus] gave life to everything that was created and His life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it” . . . “In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see” (John 1:4,5 NLT & Isaiah 29:18 NIV).

Jesus—our hope—shines! A light flickering amidst the backdrop of despair.

In fact, He shines even more brightly contrasted to the growing darkness in our world. He shines hope and light that the darkness of evil will never overcome. A hope and light that beckons us to more, instead of settling for less.

God made us each special. In Him we are something valuable. And we each have unique gifts and talents to share. Just as He first breathed life into our lives at birth, He wants to continue to breath life, hope and purpose into our daily lives. 

Knowing, believing and living our lives every day in the reality of whose we are, changes everything! In Him, we discover hope, our identity as children of the King, and that our lives are truly abundant when we live out our God-ordained purpose to shine for Him. On our own, we can do nothing. But in His strength we can do it.

We may not be priviledged to baptise 3000 people in a day, or in our lifetime. But just be faithful to what He is calling you to do—one day at a time. Don’t put it off; don’t let fear hold you back. Fill up daily with His Spirit which brings true light and hope, and let it shine through your life. Only then will we find lasting hope and meaning for the uncertain road ahead.

“Be strong, do not fear, Your God will come. He will come with vengeance; with divine retribution He will come, to save you” (Isaiah 35:4 NIV).

Lord, the signs in the world remind us that You’re coming soon. Thank You for providing hope and eternity without sin and darkness, for all who put their faith in You. Cover us daily with Your armour and fill us with courage so that we can stand and live for You everyday. Jesus, You are our only hope—for this life and eternity. Help us know it. Believe it. Shine it.

Marilyn Östring currently serves with her pastor husband in the Greater Sydney Conference. She is passionate about connecting with the community and finding creative ways to share Jesus with a focus on health and families.