Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Dear Faith Family,

Water parks are one of the best activities for a kid. However, there is one problem with water parks. In between all the rides and the food and the fun, there is something else you do a lot. You wait. You wait to get the next wave in the wave pool. You wait to get into the lazy river. You wait to get lunch. You wait in the long line that starts down on the walkway, winds up multiple flights of stairs, and extends out onto the upper platform. It’s there that you finally put your inner tube in the water and get situated for your ride only to have the lifeguard hold out his hand and say: “Wait.”

Waiting. It is definitely not the favored activity for us as human beings. And yet, as a Christian, waiting is an essential aspect of our faith journey. It is at the core of our understanding of hope.

Now by hope, we are not talking about wishful thinking or an optimistic outlook on life, but instead hope is a choice we make to embrace the certain future God has already created for his people. It is a future that includes our redemption out of slavery to sin, reconciliation in our relationship with God, and restoration to our pre-fall position of partnership in the cosmos. So we wait. And in the waiting we find ourselves liberated from the dread of circumstantial living into a joy and peace that comes as we trust God with our future. That is hope.

This week our BibleProject study is entitled “Hope”. In it, we will learn the language of hope and how the thread of hope runs throughout the Bible. Below you will find the link to the video and some discussion questions that will help you explore this theme in the Bible. There are both Old Testament and New Testament options available for you to explore. As always, if you are a part of a Sunday School Class or Life Group, consider finding a way to connect online or in person. If you are not in a class or group, contact a friend and see if they would be interested in joining you in a discussion of this theme. Let me know if you would like to get connected with others.
Discussion Questions

Scripture Reading Option One: Psalm 62
David meditates on how, in times of distress and instability, God himself is the only source of hope and rest. Whatever people may be plotting against him, their plans are ultimately temporary and transient. In contrast, God is likened to an unshakable rock to whom David can call upon in his pain and anxiety. So David chooses to simply wait for God to answer with loyal love.
  • As you read Psalm 62, what brings you the most comfort?
  • In what ways do you resonate with the idea of being in the midst of chaos but finding rest in God? Take a moment to meditate on the idea of God as a refuge in the midst of chaos.

Scripture Reading Option Two: Lamentations 3:14-33
Sometimes our distress and anxiety is caused by tragic circumstances that bring loss or humiliation. It is hard not to blame God, or at least get frustrated at him. The poet here grieves over the fact that God has allowed such pain to enter his life, yet he doesn’t abandon hope. Rather, he chooses to wait patiently in anticipation for God to answer with loyal love. He trusts that God’s apparent absence is not permanent but temporary.
  • What are some different ways people define or understand hope? What do you think it means to hope?
  • Reflect on what it means to wait patiently even without evidence that things will get better. What would that look like practically?

Scripture Reading Option Three: Romans 8:18-25
Paul invites followers of Jesus to see their own suffering and hardship as one expression of the groaning of all creation over death and decay. But for Paul, the resurrection of Jesus as king of the new creation means that all creation will one day be freed and restored. It is only by patient waiting and endurance that this hope becomes life-giving as we wait for the redemption of all creation.
  • What stands out to you in this passage?
  • God’s past faithfulness motivates hope for the future. What has God done in the world or in your own life that helps you trust and hope in him now?
  • In what ways does the resurrection of Jesus provide hope for us?

May we help each other wait in expectant hope!

Pastor Doug
Longview Evangelical Presbyterian Church | Website | 903.234.0032