As I write this eAppeal, Victoria has recently been released from its three-month lock down. There are signs of hope across Australia as State and Federal authorities seem to have Covid-19 under a level of control that we haven’t seen all year. As well, in spite of significant job losses and high unemployment, Treasury has announced that our economy may return to surplus much sooner than we thought, something that seemed inconceivable just weeks ago. But we also know that the pandemic is not over, nor is the economic pain it has brought. However, there are rays of hope. As it would happen, at the same time we are seeing signs of renewal in forests devastated last summer by bushfires, as heavy rains stimulate new growth.
Meanwhile, at College we have seen higher application rates for the 2021 year, which is encouraging. This has occurred at the same time as many had begun to lose hope during the shutdowns, and in the face of unemployment, underemployment, loss of businesses, reduced superannuation, and for school leavers, limited part-time jobs and uncertainty within our universities and key institutions.
The whole world has been challenged with restrictions on so many things they miss and value. But of course, many do not see the challenges through the eyes of faith. Where does this leave hope, if our trust is in governments, institutions, employers, or in our ability to control our world?
I’m reminded of 1 Corinthians 13:12-13, which offers a different perspective on hope. In a passage that is centred on a ‘love’ that does not fail, it reminds us that we only ever see in part—a “reflection as in a mirror”. Only on the “last day”, when we stand before our God due to the sacrifice of our Saviour, will we know fully. In a wonderful passage like 1 Corinthians 13 centred on love, we might overlook the virtue of ‘hope’. But notice where it sits.
“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor 13:12-13)
In this stirring passage on love we see ‘hope’ nestled with faith and love. Of course, this is the way it is in life. The things we hope in are of course related to the things we have faith in, and so too the things we love. For those who have hopes that reflect confidence in their skills, education and capabilities—and desires centred on stability, financial security and worldly success—the world right now is an even more fundamentally disrupted place.
Might the increase in applications reflect the work of God by his Spirit in the hearts and minds of many? Praise God that many are being challenged to give the ministry of God’s word priority in their lives. Would you pray for the men and women who are considering full-time or part-time theological study for the first time? Please also pray that as people’s lives are disrupted, many might consider that true hope must be centred on a Saviour who will not fail us. And please consider, as you are able, how you might support the College as it teaches and equips our students for Gospel ministry.
If you have a prayer request, or if you have any questions, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone my direct line at +61 (0)2 9577 9900 (please leave a message if I’m not available to pick up the phone).
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