Vicar's January Letter

 

Revd. Angela Walker

Dear reader,

I hope that you all had a very nice Christmas and are welcoming in the New Year with style. A new year always brings a certain amount of hope with it.  Depending on what sort of year we had in 2017 some of us simply hope for a better year than the last one. I wonder what your hopes and dreams are for 2018?

My hopes tend to be pretty ordinary really, good health, peace, relationships, blessings for family and friends.  Some hopes are easily realised whereas others take a little time to come to fruition. We hope for many things in life and yet sometimes we end up disappointed when our hopes do not get realised.

The bible encourages us to put our hope in God, to put our hope in someone rather than something. Hope in God does not disappoint us because God only ever wants the best for us. How are you feeling at the beginning of this year, are you feeling tired perhaps? Isaiah 40:30 says that ‘even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.’ That is a biblical promise for the weary and tired; if you put your hope in God he will renew your strength.

Perhaps you feel a little insecure at the moment? The promise of Hebrews 6:19 says ‘that hope in God is like an anchor for the soul keeping us firm and secure’ even in the roughest seas.

Or perhaps you are fighting particular battles at the moment and feel beaten down by the unjust things other people say and do? King David who wrote many of the psalms says that ‘no-one who puts their hope in God will ever be put to shame.’ Psalm 25:3

Perhaps you are feeling a bit lost and need direction? To hope in someone is to put your trust in them. Prov 3:5 tells us to ‘trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding: in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths. ‘ Another wonderful promise from the bible.

Hope in God has very specific characteristics. Hope in God is the hope of salvation, (1 Thess 5:8.) It is the hope of glory, (Col 1:27), and it is the hope of eternal life (Tit 1:2. )

God longs to give you all these things, strength for the weary, security, justice, direction and in particular salvation, and eternal life.

Many of the things that we put our hope in end up disappointing us because they never live up to our expectations, Proverbs 13:12 says that ‘hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.’ I started by saying that Hope in God does not disappoint us, God wants the best for us. Listen to what he says through the prophet Jeremiah, 29:11 God says, ‘for I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,’ and that is a wonderful promise to begin the New-Year with isn’t it?

Whatever your hopes and plans for this year may be, remember that God has plans for you if you will just put your hope and trust in him, his promises are trustworthy. Of course that doesn’t mean that everything you want will come to you, and it doesn’t guarantee a problem free zone.

Job was a man who put his hope in God, and he had a very difficult time of things, losing everything and everyone he loved and yet Job was able to say this, ‘though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.’  Job knew that God was someone he could trust in even when his world was falling apart. In fact my own testimony and the testimony of many Christians I have known is exactly that, that even when things go terribly wrong that is when God seems to draw closer and become tangibly present. That is when the hope of glory rises in our hearts and takes us through. I hope that you are able to put your hope in God this year. Because he is utterly trustworthy and he will not disappoint.

With every blessing for the New Year

Revd Angela Walker.