Scripture Reading: Romans 8:22-27
We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. –Romans 8:22-25
If you live in Oklahoma, you get a real-time education in meteorology whether you want it or not. I know a whole lot more about hook echoes and super cells than I ever thought possible. Just yesterday evening I spent time watching as a huge super cell cross southern Oklahoma. Tracked for 27 miles, it destroyed much in its path, primarily in open country with few structures. The buildings lost in its path were just as important as the ones destroyed in urban areas, but there were not so many and so far no injuries have been reported. Living in tornado alley also provides real-time experience of hope as does living in the path of hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and other natural disasters.
I love the third verse of Great is Thy Faithfulness, which I think captures the essence of our scripture today.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!*
At times, it seems the whole world is in the path of super cells of evil not related to nature. Some are the consequences of our own actions or our ancestors’ actions. Some result in damage to people who are innocent but have the misfortune of being in the path of evil. Most are designed to shatter hope. We worship a forgiving God who has also willingly sent God’s son to show us how to do faith in the face of such evil and whose dear presence continues as our guide and advocate. Our hope is built on nothing less**.
Prayer: Lord, give us the strength we need for today and the bright hope we need for tomorrow to serve you as you have called us to do. Amen.
*Great is Thy Faithfulness, words by Thomas Obediah Chisholm see at https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/19
**First line from The Solid Rock by Edward Mote see at http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/The_Solid_Rock/
All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.