HOPE in our waiting

The first of our reflections written for Advent 2015, focussed on Mary and HOPE in our waiting.

Luke 1:46-56 (NIV)

Mary’s song

46 And Mary said:

‘My soul glorifies the Lord47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.From now on all generations will call me blessed,49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is his name.50 His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful55 to Abraham and his descendants for ever, just as he promised our ancestors.’

56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

Whilst the dictionary defines hope as ‘a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen’, the hope we have in God holds within it something far more substantial. Hoping in His promises carries with it those feelings of expectation and desire, but we have something far more certain and reliable. We have God Himself, working on our behalf.

In Luke 1, Mary journeys through a huge range of emotions. When she is visited by the angel Gabriel, she is at first ‘greatly troubled’, and when she heard she was going to give birth to the Saviour of the world, she was inevitably frightened, anxious, confused and overwhelmed. She must have had so many questions about Jesus’ birth, his life, about how he would save the nations, about what it all meant – and then she probably began to realise what a great and significant task lay ahead of her.

Not only is she awaiting pregnancy and the prospect of motherhood, but Mary will have the responsibility of carrying and raising the Son of God. And she was probably just a girl, barely a teenager, processing all of this.

Yet by the time she reaches Elizabeth, in the passage noted above, she is ready to respond in hope for her future. Amidst her hope, she will claim ‘the Mighty One has done great things for me’.

There are thousands of looked after children in the UK. Some of these children will be waiting to return to their birth families, others will be waiting for adoptive families to welcome them home. Some will be anticipating a new foster placement or preparing for a weekend with respite carers. It is likely that some of them are feeling ‘greatly troubled’, and experiencing those same emotions of being frightened, anxious, confused or overwhelmed.

Just children – just like Mary.

We believe that God has plans for each of these children, plans to give a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). We believe that just as He was mindful of Mary and restored to her HOPE in her time of waiting, that He can do the same for every looked after child in the UK.

As we walk through advent, let’s pray that the God of hope would fill every child with all joy and peace, and that they would know overflowing hope amidst their questions and their waiting.

Author:
Home for Good


Date published:
December 2015


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