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Hope – even in the midst of difficult circumstances

Friday 17 February 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Church Talk, Features

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Hope – even in the midst of difficult circumstances
Chris Barber hugs his brother Philip after the pair were reunited on the thick silt and mud that destroyed Chris's home when floodwaters swept through Esk Valley near Napier. STUFF (CHRIS SKELTON)/23021632

Many of us today have misplaced our hope in the things that don’t last. We have not really understood let alone rediscovered God’s purpose for our lives, writes Pastor Eric Toleafoa from the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

In the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle which has caused havoc in and around many parts of New Zealand and the earthquake in Syria and Turkey, people around the world are once again reminded of the vulnerability of life. What we have can be wiped away in a matter of seconds.

Many of us have seen these horrific events unfold, with thousands of families left homeless with no food and nowhere to go. Many families have lost valuable possessions including the lives of family members, they now live in fear not knowing what their future holds. 

The author of Psalm 46 encourages us to reconnect with God, as they did, not only during difficult times but also the good times. The Psalmist shares a personal experience to encourage us of God’s presences even in the midst of some of lives most challenging circumstances … “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High. God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it. The nations are in chaos, and their kingdoms crumble! God’s voice thunders, and the earth melts! The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress.”

Many of us today have misplaced our hope in the things that don’t last. We have not really understood let alone rediscovered God’s purpose for our lives. We live as though nothing else matters except ourselves. In discovering our purpose, we will find that it is all about God and what He is doing to save us from all the problems we get ourselves in. 

As Christians, we have a blessed hope for the future. In the here and now, we have a constant hope that God is still in control amidst ruined cities and shattered lives. Psalms 113:5-9 gives us a snapshot of our God who is the best at turning what’s broken into a thing of beauty… “Who is like the LORD our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes, with the princes of his people. He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children.”
Our prayer is that we will share this hope with everyone that needs it; that we will spread the good news that God cares about His people (1 Peter 5:7) and that He is still powerful and working in our hearts and lives.
May God’s Spirit hover over the flood waters that threaten to wash away the foundations of our lives, bringing reassurance in the midst of calamity. May He wrap His arms around each of you and your loved ones and help you find rest, peace, contentment, hope and yes, joy in times such as these.