by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death
to guide our feet into the path of peace
Many of us grew up expecting bad things. Some of us learned to expect physical abuse. As a result we may find ourselves covering our heads to ward off a blow when someone is offering a hug. Others of us learned to expect to be neglected. As a result we may experience confusion or fear when someone shows an interest in getting to know us. Expectations which are formed early in life are difficult for us to change. It is not an easy thing to allow ourselves to hope when our hopes have been disappointed over and over again in the past.
Learning to hope, however, means opening ourselves to the possibility that the future may be different from what we have known in the past. To hope is to allow ourselves to anticipate the possibility of good things. Hope is the expectation of good. It is the ability to look for the rising of the sun, while sitting in the predawn darkness.
Our hope for the future is rooted in a conviction about God's character. It is because of God's tender mercies that we find it possible to hope. Because of God's character -- tender and full of mercy -- the sun will rise. We can anticipate good things because God is a good and loving God.
I know what it is like to live in darkness, Lord.
My house has been built in the shadow of death.
God of mercy, heal me.
God of tenderness, give light.
Build in me a capacity for hope.
Rise on my darkness, Lord.
Guide my feet out of the paths of fear
and into the path of peace.
Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan
National Association for Christian Recovery