Rejoice! Hope’s Restored!

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

Readings for July 5, 2020; Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Zechariah 9:9-12; Psalm 145:1-14; Romans 7:14-25a; Matthew 11: 25-30

Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit. Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you. Zechariah 9:9,10b-12

As I write this devotion, it is the day that my son and his beautiful bride were to be married. Despite it being a beautiful day with ideal temperatures and colourful flowers and bushes all around, it is a somber day for our family. And it has made me think of all the people around the world whose lives and future plans have been put on hold or lost because of the turmoil that the pandemic has brought upon us.

It is sad to see our young vibrant people brought low, having their energy and anticipations harnessed; to see our older folks’ desires subdued or snuffed out totally.  I guess we could ignore reality and pretend there is nothing to be concerned about, as some are doing, and live life without caution or care for ourselves or others. For these individuals, perhaps such joyous occasions are still being considered and celebrated. But at what cost?

On the other hand, for those individuals, like my son and future daughter-in-law, who are taking care of themselves and loved ones by obeying authorities and postponing, indefinitely, life changing events, it is a time of sadness, and unquenchable hope. …Or so it seems.

The words of Zechariah are words for us now. They are for us to hear during these day of bondage and isolation. They are words of hope, words of victory, words of abundance. They are promises for us; promises for all those who remain steadfast in obedience and endurance.

Despite the sobering reality of our physically isolating days, where our ability to extend and receive affection is sucked dry, Christ will lead us to a river that is overflowing. In faithfulness to Christ’s covenant of blood for us, he endures these days with us as we seek him, and in faithfulness, he will bring us to the other side. In him, our hopes will be fulfilled and he will restore us with more than we can ever imagine. He is faithful. He will do it. Just look at Noah, just look at Job, just look at the exiles, just look at Christ from this side of Good Friday.

With your sights focussed on Jesus our Saviour, stand tall and with determination to endure these days in patience and obedience. Rest in him on all your tough days. Share your sadness on your tearful days. Seek his comfort and be confident in receiving it. For Jesus himself calls out to you, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest… for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest [-and comfort, and peace, and strength-] for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29) And as you wait patiently, know without a doubt, that your hopes will become a reality in his time, and when they do, they will be fulfilled in joy and love and beauty beyond your wildest dreams. So, Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!

Prayer: Dear Lord, some days are tougher than others. Please draw my heart and mind to you. Help me to rest in you. Give me patience to endure those tougher days, and to remain obedient and patient, despite my desire to get back to normal; to feel the embrace of my loved ones, and experience the fulfilment of my desires. Help me to help others find strength to endure, and to be confident that betters days are coming. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

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