In my reading early this morning I came to Zechariah chapters 1-3. These chapters give a word of hope to the post exilic leaders trying to rebuild the temple and the city of Jerusalem. God speaks through the prophet to tell the governor and especially the high priest, that if they are faithful and true to their calling (keep the law and God's commandments) they will be successful. There are enemies all around and the devastation of the previous 70 years is hard to ignore and yet the word from God is a word of hope.
I have come to believe that a word from God is always a word of hope. Even when the word contains censure or rebuke or correction, the word from God is a word of hope because it always calls us to a hopeful and better way of thinking -- a better place. Jesus is the word of hope to a lost and broken world, the Bible tells a hopeful story of God's amazing love for humanity and the world he created. A word of hope.
I my day to day life I find a lot of people trying to live without hope. I am reminded of the character Red in Shawshank Redemption who tells Andy "hope is a dangerous thing, hope can kill a man in here!" (In here was the Shawshank prison). I'd like to suggest that hope is an amazingly powerful weapon. Hope gets us out of bed in the morning, hope helps us hang on just a little longer, hope sends us (where angels fear to tread) into places and situations that are bleak and desperately hopeless. Hope is what motivates us to change, to grow, to embrace new things, to learn and study, to engage in new ventures, and, most of all, to surrender our lives to our creator in hope of redemption and new life.