This year will go down in history as a rather hopeless one: a year in which many have experienced depression, illness, the death of loved ones, political upheaval, confusion and despair.
To give platitudes is meaningless in a year such as what we have experienced. To tell people not to worry and that “The sun’ll come out tomorrow” is deluded, perhaps, even horrible.
For vain optimism is just that – shallow and quickly destroyed.
Every day in the news there’s another story of heartbreak. Every day hopes are dashed with unsettling information – you didn’t get the job, the house, the promotion, the marriage, the raise… and so on…
Sometimes life is very 2020. And not just for one calendar year, but for many, stretching on and on beyond expectation or even comprehension. Why do things go wrong and wrong for so long?
And when they do, what point is there telling people to just believe that God will fix things and that there’ll be light at the end of the tunnel.
What if there isn’t light at the end of the tunnel?
Or the tunnel is actually so long that to be sitting in anticipation of the light is a complete waste of time right now at best, soul destroying at worst.
What is a Christian to say into such a situation?
I’ve got to admit that there are times when I, as a Christian, say pretty useless things.
Such as about a month ago, when I bought a copy of The Big Issue from a homeless man at my local shopping centre. I got chatting briefly with him and he told me his tale of woe. It really wasn’t good. Everything was going against him and on top of everything else, his loved ones were stranded thanks to Covid.
I encouraged him to say a prayer. That didn’t go down so well.
“To who?” he replied, “There’s no one there.”
And there certainly are times when it feels like that is true. When prayers go up and – it seems – just bump right back down at you from the ceiling. What’s the point? What do you do now?
Keep fighting. Because it’ll make you stronger.
A favourite part of The Bible for me comes from Habakkuk – an Old Testament, lesser known prophet. Around 600BC he wrote this:
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour.
Habakkuk the fighter. He chose joy. He chose hope. And hope, not in expectation of goodness in life. Just because. It reminds me of this song (and yes, I have reached the point where I just drop a for King and Country song to amuse myself, if nothing else):
Habakkuk had hope in God and that was enough. May you find that hope this week – as advent starts 🙂
See you back on Tuesday…
Yours in the tunnel,