A person bends before and places their hand on a wooden cross in Trinity Church

The Power of Indestructible Hope

“Many are saying, ‘Oh, that we might see better times!’ Lift up the light of your countenance upon us, O Lord. You have put gladness in my heart, more than when grain and wine and oil increase. I lie down in peace; at once I fall asleep; for only you, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” — Psalm 4:6–8

A Look Ahead to Sunday’s Readings

The Psalm for this Sunday gets right to the point: “Many are saying, ‘Oh, that we might see better times!’”

What a familiar refrain! In these complicated times, when division and disunity are rampant, this little phrase seems to be on everyone’s lips. From pulpits to pews, even people of faith decry our current situation — a world where conflict raises its head in every corner of our community and personal lives.

In such a climate, it might be cold comfort to point out that the Psalmist was writing thousands of years ago, that the people who lived then carried the same concerns in their hearts as we do. They, too, looked at their world and saw only bad news. They, too, longed for better times.

But for them, and for us, the Psalmist ultimately offers a word of hope. Asking for God’s face to shine upon God’s people, the ancient poet places ultimate trust in God’s providence and will. “You have put gladness in my heart, more than when grain and wine and oil increase,” they sing. In other words, the Psalmist claims their contentment and joy do not depend on external circumstances.

In both seasons of want and seasons of overabundance, they know with whom they belong. They can rejoice even in a time of depletion. The poet “lies down in peace,” not because the world is a safe place, but because they “dwell” and rest in God. Their practice of hope is internally rooted, under the tenderness of God’s loving, light-filled gaze.

Trusting in God from the inside out is not a call to ignore the brutalities or suffering around us. On the contrary, secure in God’s love, Christians are called to make the world more secure for everyone. In doing so, we reenact God’s posture of peace-bringing. We learn to create “better times,” not simply as a wish for ourselves and for those with whom we agree, but for all people.

Because God has provided for us beyond our fears, we must build for others a world in which fear does not have the last say. In the quiet, steady confidence of our convictions — that God is indeed working out all things for our good — we provide witness to an indestructible hope, the kind of hope that does not bow itself to terror. This is Easter hope: a holy acceptance that even death cannot prevail.

Read all of Sunday’s scriptures.

Here are five ways to think about what it means to trust God from the inside out:

Theology  “We have lost sight of hope’s transcendent dimension because we have forgotten the incomparable promise to which hope always beckons,” writes religious studies professor Paul J. Wadell. “Hope empowers us to live differently because a Christian understanding of hope is rooted in the unshakable conviction that God loves us and wants our good.”

Essay  Referencing the disciples huddled together after the death of Jesus, spiritual director and author Becky Eldredge recounts a moment of anxious waiting in her own life. “Scripture does not tell us that hope involves being ignorant to what is happening in the world around us,” she writes. “Hope doesn’t invite us to ignore what’s going on around us . . . Hope invites us to see it all, like God does.”

Ethics  In this 2017 interview, former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams shares his hopeful vision for a global future and practical suggestions for how we should treat refugees and neighbors.

Social Justice  Pulitzer Prize-winning Dominican-American writer Junot Díaz speaks about radical hope grounded in an expansive view of community: “If your community is no further than your injury, then it doesn’t seem like any agency is possible. But if your community extends more generously, more capaciously — well, certainly there’s a lot of grounds for hope there, just by the way you framed your history, your reality.”

Music  Hope invites us to pray for a God’s-eye view of our lives and our shared future. From Minimum Wage Studio, here’s a new take on the well-known hymn “Be Thou My Vision.”

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