Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.
Regardless of anything else, or anything else that we may think we know about ourselves, regardless of how the world may have come to us or the cynicism that it has left in us, left us amidst, the truth is that there is no part of us greater than our capacity for hope. This ability to hope, it’s what gives us the capacity for love, for charity, for faith. It’s hope that, in the darkest of moments, or the darkest of times, that pushes us forward. It’s hope that gives us the strength to carry on when it seems like nothing else seems to make sense. Hope is the foundation for everything that we are and everything that we do.
In that sense, it’s why the hardest struggles that we face are the struggles that we face alone, they are the challenges that we don’t see coming and that we just can’t seem explain. They are the ones that isolate us and that alienate us, the ones that make us feel like we are just so alone, that no one can understand what it is that we are going through or what we are facing. In those moment’s it’s hard, so hard as we’re left to try and figure it out without really knowing where to start or what it is that we’re even doing. In those moment’s hope seems so far from us, it seems like it’s a distant dream, a distant thought that we can’t really grab hold of anymore, it just keeps slipping through our fingers as we try to reach for it, as we try to grab hold of it all the tighter.
When we are robbed of our hope, when it is taken from us, nothing else seems to make sense as we lose a piece of ourselves. Weakness follows as our comfort and our solace is taken and our strength so quickly evaporates.
There are so many ways our hope can be taken. Sometimes it’s as simple as being overwhelmed, so overwhelmed as it feels as if everything is being piled on to us, crushing us with its weight as we try so desperately to keep our heads above water finding that we’re just treading against a powerful wave that is going to drag us under. Other times it comes in sinister ways. It sneaks up on us, whispering lies into our ears, telling us that we aren’t good enough, telling us that we never will be good enough. It can rip the happiness and the joy from our lives, leaving us lost and broken, fallen amidst our own pain and despair, depressed amidst sorrow. Sometimes it comes by loss, by something or someone we held so dear to us going, being taken from us. It doesn’t even have to be in ways we didn’t see coming, sometimes we see it coming and we’re just so powerless to stop it, knowing there was nothing that we could do.
How hard those moments are, especially for the faithful of God, for those who trust in His Word and His promises, knowing what he once uttered to Moses. (Deuteronomy 31:6) After all, it is the same promise He gave to Joshua (Joshua 1:5) and the same that had been handed to us, the promise that He will never fail us, that He will never forsake us or leave us. (Hebrews 13:5) It’s so hard when God seems so far away from us.
“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:25)
What needs to be remembered, more than anything else, is that just because we don’t understand the purpose or the meaning behind something, it doesn’t mean that there is no purpose or meaning in it. Just because we don’t see the reason or the point behind it doesn’t mean we never will. To live in faith is to hope in things that are unseen, (Hebrews 11:1) it is the substance of that which seems not to have any substance, the wealth that dwells amidst poverty. It is the contradiction of human wisdom and understanding, the strength of God to give power even unto the weakest of us, to give glorious triumph to those who feel as if they have fallen never to rise again.
What we need to know, what we need to remember is that new beginnings, they don’t just fall once a year. Each day, in the love and the mercy of our God, is a new day and a new beginning, it is one where we dwell in the promises of His divine plan for us, plans that He set out even before we were born, (Jeremiah 29:11) plans that live in the glorious possibility of His blessed assurances for us.
The Epiphany Season, a season that starts with Three Kings Day, a celebration of the Magi who sought and found the blessed Savior, Christ Jesus, lying in the meager estate of that manger, is a season of the revelations of our Lord. It is the season of God’s knowledge and wisdom, a time when we remember that He reveals Himself unto us in mysterious ways. Sometimes He leads us with a star, with a bright light that cuts across the sky, sometimes it’s sometime different. It’s not always in ways that we understand or that we recognize. This is the beauty of our Lord, and the wonder of our Savior, the long awaited Messiah who did not come in the way many would have thought. After all, the Light of lights, the King of kings lay to rest in a bed of hay, surrounded by livestock, born to poor parents of little to no influence during the subjugation of his people?
Truly the wisdom of our Heavenly Father does not work in the ways that think or that we expect, yet, with perfect timing and perfect understanding it always works for the greatest benefit and the greatest hope of His beloved children.
Remember that just because we can’t, in our struggles, necessarily see how God reveals Himself to us doesn’t mean He hasn’t and isn’t at that very moment. Right then, right there He is working, even if you have to endure your challenges, your hurts, your stresses a little while longer. He is there to give you that strength you need to get through, reminding you that, this side of Heaven He promises you a perfect love, a perfect grace, a perfect mercy, a perfect hope, but never a perfect life. Aware of your every battle, He equips you with the tools you need to make it through, sometimes it just means running the race with more perseverance than you knew you had.
This Epiphany let go of the struggles that you face, let go of the challenges that you have. Let God reveal Himself to you and let go in the trust and the knowledge that He is there to free you from all bondage and captivity, that the Christ child was made flesh to ransom you from the power of sin, death and the devil that darkness may have no power over you and that hope would forever and always reign in Your life. It may not be easy, and it may take time, it may not happen overnight but, by surrendering yourself to God, it will happen for you, for He heals the wounded spirit and the broken heart, mending us to leave us stronger where we once were weak. It just means always reaching for hope, always grabbing hold of hope, and holding it tight, clasping on to it even when it feels like it is slipping away, to remember that, in faith, by grace, we shall always have it through the wondrous love and boundless mercy our God has for us.
Dear brothers and sisters, you are never alone. God has arisen, He has awaken, and He has shown Himself unto you that His glory would light your way like a beacon breaking through the long, cold night. Darkness has no power over you and despair shall always be set to flight when you lift your eyes to the Lord and look upon His magnificence, a magnificence given that you might find peace and hope in all that you are and all that you do.
Lord, grant this unto us all.
Now may the peace of the Lord, that peace that transcends all human understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus even unto life everlasting, Amen.