Saturday, Second Week in Advent

by Matthew B. Harper

O Lord my God, I cried to thee for help, and thou hast healed me. (Psalm 30:2)

There is great pain in the Hebrew Bible, in the laments, in the prophets, and in the psalms. Throughout all of the pain is a sure confidence in the deliverance of the Lord. But not all of our hopes will be realized on this side of heaven. That is a true and painful reality. Yet we live in hope. We cannot give up on hope because it is not enough just to survive.

In prison you cannot even try to do God’s work preaching a message of mere survival and morality. We must preach, teach, live, and show forth hope. And this hope cannot simply be an empty hope of freedom or material things. The hope that guides us and gives direction is a hope that comes only through, and from, God.

I daydream of blue waters and open seas, but even more I daydream of living my life over again, living it better. And it is a painful truth I must live with that my crimes can never be undone; they can never be satisfied; there will never be complete healing, and I may never see freedom. I have watched too many men in here die, old and forgotten, to be able to deny that possible reality.

But the hope endures. Hope has been called the most dangerous thing in prison, and it is. It is also the most liberating.

In God all our hopes and dreams will find fulfillment

No eye has known the sight, no ear has heard such delight: Alleluia! Therefore we sing to greet our king; forever let our praises ring. (Hymn 61)

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