Life

Faith in the tough times: The Easter hope for the future

Concluding his Lent reflections, the Rt Rev George Davison, the Church of Ireland Bishop of Connor, looks forward to Easter - a dark moment when God revealed himself as the light of the world

Easter - "a dark moment when the good and gracious God revealed himself as the light of the world," says Bishop George Davison
Easter - "a dark moment when the good and gracious God revealed himself as the light of the world," says Bishop George Davison Easter - "a dark moment when the good and gracious God revealed himself as the light of the world," says Bishop George Davison

IN tough times it can be hard for any of us to make sense of what is going on around us.

For the person of faith it can be particularly challenging to understand where a good God is while all of this is happening.

For some, the temptation may just be to give up on God and walk away in despair.

Over the last few weeks we've been looking through the eyes of the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk as he tried to make sense of where God was and what he was doing while things seemed to be falling apart in the life of Habakkuk's own community.

When he felt abandoned by God, Habakkuk turned to him and asked some honest, blunt questions.

As he wrestled with God in prayer and questions, he discovered afresh some truths about God, about his people and about himself.

As he engaged with God, he had to challenge many of his own assumptions and he was reminded again of God's consistency and faithfulness over many generations.

He had to recognise too, that God's answers were not always what we expect and may actually prompt us to look again at our own hearts and attitudes.

He realised too that he might have to wait for God's answers to his prayers.

As Habakkuk wrestled with God in prayer, he was shaken by what he experienced.

It was not simply a matter of thinking things through, of coming to an understanding of how things are.

No, Habakkuk himself had been changed by the process. As he realised again what God is like, how God acts, he recognised that he must make his own response.

In Holy Week, what it must have been like for those who loved Jesus to watch as everything appeared to go terribly wrong; as he was rejected and hung to die on a Roman cross?

Habakkuk acknowledged afresh that the God who he had been crying out to, questioning, seeking to understand, is the Lord of all - the Lord of his life.

With two short phrases at the end of his writing, Habakkuk makes that response.

He promises to "wait patiently" through the difficult days and to "rejoice in the Lord" as the one who will save him.

It takes faith to wait patiently through the 'tough times'.

In Holy Week, what it must have been like for those who loved Jesus to watch as everything appeared to go terribly wrong; as he was rejected and hung to die on a Roman cross?

What seemed tragic and incomprehensible to those who lived through it, turned out to be the turning point in human history: Jesus' great act of self-sacrifice that saved his people and gave them hope for the future.

A dark moment when the good and gracious God revealed himself as the light of the world.

A tough time, but the time that changed the world for good - truly a moment to believe and rejoice.

Bishop George Davison's Lent reflections can be found here.