We’ve got your daily encouragement, written by Mark Graves. The Faith Workout of the Day is an updated version of the former Athlete Word of the Day.

Bible Reading:

Psalm 126:6

He who goes out weeping,
    bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
    bringing his sheaves with him.

Word:

“100% hope, 0% expectation.” Sign seen held by the lone Cleveland Browns fan in Heinz Field Pittsburgh at the Wild Card game Jan. 10, 2021. What it is to have hope, and yet little if any expectation or faith that it might come to pass?

That lone Browns fan expressed what many of us feel when we talk about hope. My wife has a print that hangs in our bathroom that shows an older man leaning against a tree, back bowed, head hanging obvious defeat and pain worn. In his hand he holds a watering can from drooping fingers watering the tree. The tree seems obviously dead, lifeless, and what we would say is beyond hope. Like the Cleveland Browns against a team they have not beaten in 18 years, a team (the Browns) that have not won a playoff game since before most of you were born.

So, in Psalm 126 when the sower goes forth to seed, broken and in despair with tears flowing from their eyes. Not with delight, not with confidence but with true emptiness and little belief beyond a promise. The promise, that despite what we have done, despite what would seem obvious, that despite the ways we have messed up again and again and again. That despite that the promise of God still smiles. That is what hope is in the Bible.

It is Ezekiel standing before an entire field (or stadium) filled with dead, dry bones. “Can these bones live?” asks God. Ezekiel answers as we would, “Only you know God…” In other words, “I DON’T THINK SO!” That is the power of Habakuk’s declaration in chapter 3, “Though there be no fruit upon the vine, yet I will rejoice.” It isn’t that the locusts have eaten their land. It’s that God has shown the devastation and ruin that is coming from the Babylonians and that it will get even worse than they could ever imagine. Worse than locusts, worse than hunger, worse than thirst, worse than anything we could ever even dream up for ourselves. Despite that, there is still hope in God.

“100% hope, and 0% expectation,” and yet we hold firm to that hope…

Prayer:

God help me to see what my hope is in you. Help me to see the promise beyond the pain. Help me to see the joy in defeat and despair. Help me to see you where I am.

Skillwork:

Possibly today would be a good day to journal about brokenness and despair. Where does your hope lie in that?

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