The first Advent candle that we light each Christmas is focused on HOPE. In a year that has been filled with challenges in some of GNI’s ministry, grief in the personal lives of our staff, and confidence for tomorrow’s expectations dwindled, what is there to hope in? Perhaps you can relate. Let me share with you one story that illustrates hope to me.
One evening while hosting a team in Thailand this fall, we walked the red-light district and prayed. My group stopped to chat with a few ladies who were working in the front of a business. One was knitting a red vest and one of the Canadian ladies on the team became so excited! She asked if she could knit a row and, with the Thai lady looking on, they shared the joy of knitting for a moment. The Thai lady quickly pulled out a scarf and toque that would complete the set for her boy. Another Thai lady ran inside and came out with the cutest delicate pink infant toque. These ladies were knitting for their kids and were so proud of what they were making! As all parents quickly do, they whipped out their phones and showed us pictures of their kids. The women on the Canadian team saw the humanity of these women who were beautiful moms just trying to provide for their families.
There were other difficult scenes we saw as young girls went off with senior men and we prayed as we walked. However, as we were exiting the area, I looked up and saw this:
A lit cross on a church! To me, it was a reminder that Christ stands watch over his children and gives us hope. I could hear God say, “I am the Light of the World and there is always hope.” He paid the price, giving his life so that our bad deeds can be forgiven, and we can accept his gift of salvation. Jesus is calling to the ladies and gentlemen in the red-light district just as he is calling you, his child. As Lauren Daigle sings,
When darkness seems to win?
“Where are You now
Where are You now
When the world is crumbling?
Where are You now (where are You?)
When all I feel is doubt?
Oh, where are You now
When I can’t figure it out?
You’re not threatened by the war
You’re not shaken by the storm
I know You’re in control
Even in our suffering
Even when it can’t be seen
I know You’re in control
Oh I hear You say
Look up child!”
HOPE: “Hope anchors the soul.” Hebrews 6:19
HOPE: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
HOPE: “May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace, as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).