Climb In Hope

Dani Beth Crosby, Family + Communications Minister
ISAIAH 9:2;6-7
The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
a light has dawned
on those living in the land of darkness. For a child will be born for us,
a son will be given to us,
and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
The dominion will be vast,
and its prosperity will never end.
He will reign on the throne of David
and over his kingdom,
to establish and sustain it
with justice and righteousness from now on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD of Armies will accomplish this.
Hannah Hurnard’s, Hinds Feet on High Places, is an allegory about a deer’s climb up a challenge-ridden mountain. Mirroring the life of a Christ-follower, at different points in her journey, the deer must climb alongside various companions. When Sorrow and Suffering become her journey companions, she is hesitant to continue the climb. Then she remembers, “Others have gone this way before me…and they could even sing about it afterwards. Will he who is so strong and gentle be less faithful and gracious to me, weak and cowardly though I am, when it is so obvious that the thing he delights in most of all is to deliver his followers from all their fears and to take them to the High Places?” The deer then steps forward, looks straight at Sorrow and Suffering, and courageously continues on, clinging to the hope she has in The Shepherd. Faith-rooted hope is established on the unchanging, eternal character of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Like looking both ways before you cross a busy street, Advent is a time to pause and look both ways, reminding ourselves of the hope we have in Jesus. We look back in celebration of hope fulfilled through His birth, life, death, and resurrection. We also look forward in hope and anticipation to His second coming and His eternal Kingdom. We hope in the unchanging, eternal character of Jesus:
He is still Light in the darkness.
He is still Wonderful. There is wonder in His earthly nature—fully God and fully man. There is wonder in His love. There is wonder in His birth. There is wonder in His life—in His miracles, in His choice of disciples, in His parables and teaching, and in His suffering. There is wonder in His resurrection. There is wonder in His eventual return.
He is still Counselor. He dwelt on earth in full wisdom, calling all who are weary and burdened to find rest in Him. He counsels us to find rest by taking on His yoke–His way of living in righteousness—and learning from Him. His “yoke is easy and [His] burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-29) This is the way, walk in it!
He is still Mighty God. The winds and waves obey Him. He called Lazarus out of his tomb. He conquered sin and death, once and for all.
He is still Everlasting Father. He is one with the Father. He “is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) He is God with Us, Immanuel.
He is still Prince of Peace. All that is good and perfect comes from Him. In Him we find completion, perfection, and wholeness.
Sorrow and suffering have been one of the many “companions” journeying with us throughout this curious year. We climb on in hope, looking back and remembering God is our Light, Wonder, Counsel, Power, Protection, and Restoration to us as He was to those who climbed before. We journey in hope, looking ahead to His eternal Kingdom that multiplies each day and is established and sustained in His justice and righteousness now and forever.
Isaiah 30:21; Matthew 8:27; John 15:13; Matthew 28:6; John 11:25-26; John 10:30; James 1:17; Philippians 1:6