Paul Saxon writes;-

Hope is a funny old thing. We hope for good weather on holiday, or we hope that we will get a promotion at work. We hope our children will do well in their exams. We hope that the results of the scan will return with good news and we hope that we will be able to pay all of our bills at the end of the month.

I guess that, hope is kind of ticking along in the background of our lives, and we don’t really notice it until we lose it. Have you ever felt hopeless? Feeling hopeless quickly turns our lives upside down and can make every day life feel like an uphill struggle with a weighted back pack! Where do you find your hope today?

I’m trying to put myself in the disciples shoes right now, around the time just after Jesus death. How did they feel during the events of the first Easter? They had literally left everything to follow Jesus. He had said some incredible things and made some massive statements. He had healed the sick, cast out demons and fed the hungry. He had allowed the disciples to believe he was the long awaited Messiah, come to deliver Israel. Then he was murdered on a Roman execution stake...and they were left picking up the pieces of the past few years. What to do now? Where would they go? Who could they trust?

John 21 tells the story of Peter and a few of the other disciples. No doubt trying to make sense of the last few days. Jesus was dead (as far as they knew). So Peter decides to go fishing, and the others follow him. It’s as though Peter has decided “well that dream is over, back to the old way again.”

To add insult to injury, “that night they caught nothing”(John 21:3). They couldn’t even make a do at their old job anymore...everything has changed for Peter and the disciples. They won’t be going back to their old lives, but the dream of following Jesus is also over for them in their minds.

In the chaos, hurt, confusion and doubt of that moment, a new voice enters their story.

The voice of the risen Jesus calling from the beach, “have you caught anything?”

Of course they haven’t caught anything. They have lost their hope, and tried to go back to their old lives. Only when they listen to the voice of Jesus do they catch the fish.

Life isn’t always plain sailing, the world is a long way off what it should be, life is tough...but as the disciples experienced, there is hope to be found in listening to the voice of the Lord. When we pray in the midst of the difficulties of life, we are standing up and making the statement:

“I’m not OK with this, God you are the only One who can help, so please don’t let me down.”

When we reach the end of ourselves and with nowhere else to turn but into the arms of Jesus and speak with Him, we are making a statement that we want the Kingdom of God to invade the narrative of our lives, the lives of the suffering world, the lives of our families and communities. In this place the seed of hope can begin growing in our lives. Hope that God hasn’t finished with us yet, hope that there is a future for us, hope that God himself is writing the story of our lives, and not random chance. Where are you finding your hope today? I pray that you would experience the hope of a God who beats death, and One who has the final word for your life. Choose to trust him today.

I’ll finish with this classic quote on prayer by Karl Barth:

“To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.”