God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.
I have just been at our local primary school to take a barrage of theological questions from a class of eight-year-olds. I was asked to address the question ‘why do Christians believe in God?’ The subsequent dialogue was excellent and it was very good for me to have to give quick and simple responses to the profound questions of life that these young hearts and minds were already grappling with.
I was asked what I got from my faith and the answer that I found coming from my lips was “hope”. When I got home from my grilling, I began to think further about this and realised what an amazing thing it is to have hope that springs from faith in the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is especially true when things go wrong and seem to fall apart before our eyes. We find ourselves asking God questions and wondering why things are as they are. It was interesting to me that these eight-year-old minds were wrestling with questions such as why is there war and how can God allow such suffering in the world. Perhaps, as never before, our children are exposed to a barrage of images and media input that forces them to engage early in life with the social realities of war and human suffering.
So, what difference can faith make in a world of trouble and turmoil? Part of the answer to that question is that faith brings hope even in the most desperate of life’s situations. How is it, that a believer in the resurrection of Jesus Christ can rejoice and be at peace on their deathbed? How can a person of deep faith live in faith and hope when all that we consider worthwhile in life has been stripped away?
Only God can do this. Only the Lord of hosts can bring hope to the hopeless, love to the loveless and faith to the faithless.
Rev. Dr Christopher Noble – Rector of St Mary’s Stansted with Fairseat and Vigo and Area Dean of Shoreham.