10–16 November 2019.
When things go wrong in our lives it’s not always easy to stay positive. Every day it feels like our troubles are getting worse, that our challenges are getting bigger, and that there’s no way out of our problems. When everything is going so badly it’s hard to imagine that life could still get better. But it’s exactly in those times that God encourages us to hold on.
When the Hebrews were slaves in Egypt they never expected their lives to get better. But suddenly they found themselves set free and living with hope again. When Jesus was laid in the tomb, his disciples ran away and thought Christ’s story was over. But then suddenly Christ was risen and the Light of the World had returned into their lives again. Just when we think there is no hope left, just when we think it’s impossible for things to get better, that’s when God surprises us with new chances, new hope, and new life.
That’s the same promise the Israelites receive in Zechariah 10. The Israelites had seen their cities destroyed, their people sent into exile, and their hope for the future destroyed. They were reduced to just a scattered few (v. 8). But now God promises them that goodness will be coming for them once more. Prosperity will return, fertility will return, and their cities and fields will be filled again with new life. No matter what dark corners of the world their people had been scattered to, no matter what traps their lives had fallen into, God was going to turn their lives around and bring them all back home.
Like an army facing certain defeat, the Israelites had lost all hope for their lives and all hope for their future. But suddenly just as the battle seemed lost new strength arrived, new encouragement filled their hearts, and they heard God’s promise that defeat would be changed into victory. And as Zechariah promises the Israelites, that victory won’t be short lived. Instead even the lives of their children and their descendants will be touched by that wonderful new hope and filled with astonishing joy (vv. 7, 9).
Praise God, because this is the same promise he gives to us, too. Today if things are not going well for you, don’t give up. All through history God has shown that he is a God of surprises, a God of wonderful new hope, a God who amazes us with goodness and unexpected joy precisely in those moments when we thought our life was over. So don’t give up. Instead hold onto God’s promise of love for you, and allow God to surprise you with the amazing goodness he has prepared for you.
Pastor Stephen Lakkis