A beautiful day, a better future

Photo: Lisa Fotios, Pexels. Photo: Lisa Fotios, Pexels.

See the Bedouin fires at night
See the oil fields at first light
And see the bird with a leaf in her mouth
After the flood, all the colors came out It’s a beautiful day

The song “Beautiful Day” by U2 sparks hope for me. I believe we need all the positive thoughts we can muster for our journey in 2021.

No one could have predicted there would be a global pandemic in 2020, along with increasing gun violence, police brutality, racial justice issues, wildfires, hurricanes, earthquakes, the economic crisis. It felt like the four horsemen of Revelation 6 were just around the corner.

The writer of Proverbs said, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18, KJV). I pray that as we face contemporary problems, when we yield to the Holy Spirit to guide and teach us, we will see Jesus and find deliverance in him. “We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters the inner shrine behind the curtain, where Jesus, a forerunner on our behalf, has entered, having become a high priest forever ” (Hebrews 6:19-20). May we find him so that we can finally sing again, “It’s a beautiful day.”

It’s been said that a person can live 40 days without food, three days without water and eight minutes without air but only a second without hope. I believe that everyone alive today has a God-directed, hopeful journey waiting in the future. One of my favorite scriptures is Jeremiah 29:11: “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.”

As a Christ-follower, I feel to some degree like an alien or an exile in this world, a sojourner whose destination is the kingdom of heaven. I can relate to the struggle and suffering of the Israelites throughout the Old Testament, finding hope and deliverance in a foreign land while also claiming God’s promise for a better future.

It was a beautiful day for Abraham (originally Abram) when God appeared to him (first in Genesis 12). Abraham’s journey was not easy. There were detours, trials and hardship. But when God appeared, hope arose. Abraham could see God’s promise, and he built altars on several occasions to remind him of that promise.

As sojourners, like Abraham, we all have moments when we desperately need to see God’s promise and vision in our lives. We are waiting for that moment to be reminded again of God’s purpose and promise.
We are not alone in our journey in this world. We may feel alienated and isolated, as if in a foreign land, but there is hope in the body of Christ. There is hope in the church, which is claiming its identity as a community of sojourners. I see hope in the church as an antidote to polarization and cultural segregation.

In Intercultural Church: A Biblical Vision for an Age of Migration, Safwat Marzouk states:

If the surrounding culture seeks to build walls of fear to separate people from each other, the sojourning people of God are called to show hospitality to one another and to use the gifts that God has given them to serve others (1 Peter 4:10-11). Whether the community experiences exile because they are literally migrants or because they are alienated by the society due to their ethical commitment, God announces promises that empower them to persevere in the face of pain and suffering.

Whatever journey awaits us, let us set our eyes on God’s promise to bring deliverance into our life. Let us set our eyes on Jesus and celebrate him with our brothers and sisters in Christ because “this is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).
In other words, it’s a beautiful day.

Hendy Matahelemual

Hendy Stevan Matahelemual is an ordained minister in Mosaic Mennonite Conference and lives in Philadelphia. Read More

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