Hope in the Midst of Struggle
Third Sunday in Advent: December 12, 2010
“Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of fearful heart, ‘Be strong and do not fear!’” (Isaiah 35:3-4)
Prophet Isaiah talks about God’s tender care for God’s people in the midst of the hard realities of their lives. If you read carefully Isaiah 35:1-10, you hear God’s good news to the suffering, the ailing and the ones who long for release from fear, pain and captivity. God assures a happy home coming to God’s people. There is hope in the midst of it all.
The wonderful joy of the third Sunday of Advent can be felt in the heart of many people. The Christian people are busy making preparation for the celebration of the coming of the Lord Jesus. The weeks are short, and many people are rushing around buying gifts for their love ones. Churches are beautifully decorated with cheerful Christmas decorations. Adults and children are making preparations with Advent music and Christmas plays. Pastors are planning special services. Indeed it is a joyful week of advent for many adults and children.
In the midst of the commotion and rushing to complete our to-do lists, we may forget the mission of the church and its message of hope.
The wonderful, joyful feelings of Advent may not be felt by all of our church and nonchurch friends. Let us focus on one group of people that needs special help during this happy period of Advent.
The plight of the aged population is one of the critical problems in America. America is growing old, and the number of the aged is growing in proportion. The number of aged poor is also growing. Benefits that the aged poor receive are extremely limited and do not fully provide for their needs. A large number of our aged population gets depressed and becomes ill. Our hospitals usually are full of the aged poor.
The mission for our situation is great, and our resources may be limited. However, the resources of our Lord are unlimited, and promises will be fulfilled. No matter how big the problems may be, our Lord will come and all redeemed will rejoice (Isaiah 35:1-10). We need not fear for the Lord is with all who have faith in our Lord.
The aged population will rejoice this Advent period for God is good, kind and loves people in all stages of their lives. Our task is to take action with our limited resources and time this year so that great things can happen in the lives of those whom we serve. Visit Global Action on Aging (www.globalaging.org/index.htm) for ways you can help. Our Lord will provide an abundance of resources and will provide a vision for the future years. We just need to have strong faith in what God can do in a short time.
The prophet Isaiah asks God’s people not to fear for the Lord is with the redeemed. Therefore, let us rejoice with the fruit provided by our Lord. Let us pray and ask our Lord to give us the faith needed in order to take action for the need of the aged population.
Let us pray:
Dear Lord, we give thanks for providing our Savior Jesus and redeemer for our sins. Gracious Lord, thank you for the many things that you have provided this beautiful Advent period. Lord, we ask that you may provide the many aged people with the joy of the Advent weeks and with the assurance that God will provide all our needs. May God bless each of us with the understanding that God will provide for all our needs. In the name of Jesus we ask with faith. Amen.
Cindy Johnson is a deaconess and the Kyung Za Yim Intern for Immigrant/Civil Rights, working in the area of Public Witness, from the Rio Grande Annual Conference.