“But the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish.” — Psalm 9:18 (NIV84)
The psalmist says, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). People who are in need and afflicted have every right to be hopeless, but many simply aren’t. As I have ministered in Haiti and in large cities in the U.S., I have found just the opposite to be true. In the hearts of people who, by my definition, would be in need, forgotten and afflicted, I find a spirit of hope. I find in them a certain contentment that the Lord is faithful, and that He is protecting and providing for their daily needs. The Lord is faithful to His Word. He is close to those in need and the brokenhearted.
You might be thinking this morning, “This is all fine and good, but what does it have to do with me?” Maybe you do not live in the hope that today’s physical needs will be met — maybe those daily needs are filled with such rich blessings that hope in God’s providence is taken for granted. If that is the case, there may be the need to step back and remember that all that we have is from Him. Let’s not take for granted what God provides for us on a daily basis.
But let’s be honest. I know we each hope that today’s verse doesn’t just refer to physical needs and afflictions. I find myself daily lacking in grace and compassion. I find myself judging the world around me. I find myself way too focused on myself. It doesn’t take long for me to realize that I am spiritually and emotionally in need and afflicted. I need God’s daily reminder that He is near me. I need to know that He has not forsaken me. I need the assurance that my hope in Him is not in vain. It is comforting to know that when I fail as a Christian, God does not leave me in despair and in need of forgiveness but is right there to meet my need. Friends in Christ, in our time of need we can turn to the cross of Jesus Christ and find the grace and forgiveness our souls hope for.
Hope in God is not just a wishful thing about the future. It is a daily assurance of His presence and providence.