June 30

Zechariah 9:11-12

“Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.” vs. 12

When the Jews returned from exile they were faced with an enormous challenge. Jerusalem and the surrounding countryside had been ravaged by the armies of Babylon. The temple and protective walls of the city were gone–there were few who even remembered the days of glory. In that context Zechariah presents a vision of hope, a promise that someday the Lord would again look in favor on the people and their city. In years to come that hope would sustain them through times of unimaginable horror and disappointment. It’s amazing what power there is in hope. It continues to be a primary motivator in each of our lives. With hope we can endure some pretty rough times and overcome debilitating obstacles. Without it despair becomes the enemy and there’s little inclination to engage in healthy, life-giving activities. We see that so clearly in the lives of those who live in poverty and oppression. Where there is hope, good things happen. When despair takes over, anger and rage are quick to follow. That’s why it’s so important for our leaders to consistently and regularly proclaim a message of hope for those who struggle. And when that message is accompanied by actions that promote healing and restoration its potency is doubled. Life isn’t always going to be a bed of roses for us, but as long as we have the hope of restoration, we’ll be able to keep going!

Thought for the Day: How hopeful am I for a resolution to racial tensions?

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