How are you wired?  Are you more about facts or feelings?  When you have to make a decision, do you stop to analyze the details of both sides of the choice you have to make (facts) or do you just go with your ‘gut’ (feelings)?  When you read an angry post online, do you take the time to check out the details of the story and the action before you respond (facts) or do you just fire back with an immediate and equally angry reaction (feelings)?  

We are living through an extraordinary, unprecedented moment in time as our world wrestles with COVID19, deep-rooted issues of injustice and hate, and changes to plans in every aspect of life and well outside our control.  We’re bombarded with opinions and soundbites, but the news is never good.  Even a good cup of Starbucks or a Red Bull in the morning isn’t enough to guarantee a good day! Right?!

Depending on just our feelings right now isn’t enough.  Life is really different; the rhythm of our day looks nothing like it did a few months ago. Hope for the future seems to be in short supply.  But here’s the thing – hope isn’t about feelings.  Hope is about certainties.  It’s not about what I feel, it’s about what I know.  So then, what do we know?  Paul, in his letters to the believers in Rome, says this:

“Our hope is not one that will leave us empty.  Our hope will bring joy and peace to our hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit of God lives inside of us and He reminds us of the joy and peace we have in Christ – daily!”  (Romans 15:13)

Paul states it with certainty, whatever situation we’re in or whatever the circumstances around us, there’s still hope.  It shows up as joy and peace, deep inside of us where all those feelings bubble and churn.  The world around us might be angry, anxious and out of control, but we (as Christ followers) don’t have to be. 

Someone once said, “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.” God’s the one! Hold onto that and hold onto Him!  The peace Paul talks about is that sense of inner calm, I have my bearings, my feet are on solid rock even in the storm.  Joy is brightness in our life that grows out of a sense of confidence in who God is and how I fit into His plan.  That joy and that peace are found in a real relationship with Jesus Christ.  Hold onto Him.  

I believe the writer of song 691 in our Salvation Army songbook has it right:

WHEN you feel weakest, dangers surround,
Subtle temptations, troubles abound,
Nothing seems hopeful, nothing seems glad,
All is despairing, everything sad:

Keep on believing, Jesus is near;
Keep on believing, there’s nothing to fear;
Keep on believing, this is the way;
Faith in the night as well as the day.

If all were easy, if all were bright,
Where would the cross be, and where the fight?
But in the hardness, God gives to you
Chances of proving that you are true.

God is your wisdom, God is your might,
God’s ever near you, guiding aright;
He understands you, knows all you need;
Trusting in Him you’ll surely succeed.

Let us press on then, never despair,
Live above feeling, victory’s there;
Jesus can keep us so near to Him
That nevermore our faith shall grow dim.

Tune:  Blessed Assurance
Lucy Milward Booth-Hellberg, 1868-1953

God, thank you for being a safe place for me today!  Help me to rise above my feelings, to find total confidence in my relationship with you through Jesus Christ.  And then give me the courage to let joy and peace and hope be seen in me today!  I love you!  Amen.

L.t Colonel Kelly Ponstler