There’s nothing wrong with boasting about the Lord— to do so is proclaiming truth. It’s telling the story of the excellence of God’s character, of His goodness, His worthiness—it’s defining His glory. By telling what God has done in our lives, we point to the grace of the cross, to the one who is our Light and our Salvation, our stronghold in times of darkness. We point to the one who, as King of kings, has proclaimed that we have nothing to fear, just because of who He is. Boasting is our worship.
But often in this life, we can see only the pain, the suffering, the fear. Just one look out in the world shows how hard it is to find beauty these days. Wars and rumors of wars, violence and destruction, oppression, suppression, brutality, lines of division, desperation, starvation; innocence taken, exploited, abused—corruptions of affection, of creation, of food, of justice, of life. The struggles go on and on, and the cores of our beings fearfully cry out, “Why? Is this all there is to life?” Our experience of reality doesn’t match up with our expectations. Life doesn’t feel like a gift. Life just feels hopeless and terrifying.
Yet, the problem with fear is that it takes our eyes off the one we call our Stronghold. Fear distracts. It blinds. It paralyzes. Fear drains the hope that is the foundation of our faith. We can no longer see any goodness, or the beauty of His presence, and we forget the face of our Father because our focus is only on the battles and chaos around us.
But what is hope? Hope says, “Yes, there is life after death. Yes, Christ has risen. Yes, there is a New Jerusalem awaiting us that creation groans to have revealed.” The Lord did not just set a ladder for us to go up, but God intended for Christ to come down. Seeing honestly the obstacles, the pain, the battles, the fear, and yet still believing that the goodness of God intervenes in our world, here and now—that is hope. Because hope isn’t something tacked on to the gospel as an afterthought. It’s not wishful thinking, weakness, or blind optimism that acts as if problems don’t exist. Hope isn’t a life raft we just have to cling to until we finally reach heaven. Hope is the gospel. Hope is the truth that holy, passionate love has broken in and interrupted our world to make the impossible possible. Hope trusts. Hope has faith that God heals, provides, sustains, sets the captives free, and is present and active every second of the day. Hope gives us the strength to shout with joy even if the enemy surrounds us, because fear isn’t the only option when we have a Father who is faithful. The promise of the cross is that we don’t have to go through this life alone and the Holy Spirit will give us the strength to turn our lament into praise.
So, no matter what we may face, let us seek our Father and find hope in His presence.