Advent Devotional

Bearers of Hope for a Waiting World

Join me in welcoming Grace Cho. Grace is a friend of mine from a writer’s group with a brilliant voice, fabulous editing-skills, a welcoming heart, and a deep love for Jesus. I know you’ll love her as much as I do.

Welcome, Grace!

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Bearers of Hope for a Waiting World

by Grace Cho

Hope deferred makes a heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.    

–Proverbs 13:12

Lord, what word do you have for me? I turned the domino piece over and over in my hand. The activity required us to write what God was calling us to obey; the domino piece symbolized the exponential impact we would have if we all did our one thing. As people took the stage to share their word at the mic, I was surprised at how quickly He answered my question.

Write, he said to me.

I should’ve been taken aback by how clearly and quickly He answered, but instead I thought, Again? But You’ve said that to me a million times already.

Exactly, he replied.

His subtle rebuke stunned me to attention. I felt like Moses standing in front of the burning bush, sandals off, bare feet, on holy ground. I sat on the the linoleum floor, flip flops to my side, and in my deepest parts I knew this was holy ground. God had been asking the same thing of me for years, but I had resisted as Moses did. I had belittled it and called it a hobby because it felt safer not to take it seriously and only half-obey.

The calling made no sense. I had been in ministry for years and had always felt it was my calling, so why would he change my course? Also, what did I have to contribute to the world? Who was I that I should write? Did my words matter when people who have platforms and far-reaching influence are already saying what needs to be said? Did my voice matter?

And why use my voice if no one’s listening?

A good, loving friend once told me that my disobedience withholds blessing from others, and in that holy ground moment, I realized the depth of that truth. I had been afraid step into writing with both feet because of what people would think of me instead of thinking of the people who were needing to hear (or read) the hope of the gospel. Hope in the midst of mindlessly scrolling through their phones looking to be satisfied. Hope in the drudgery of everyday work and life. Hope, like a drop in the middle of a still lake, awakening them to the One who is Life and gives life, who is Love and loves them fiercely, who is Peace and breathes peace into anxious times.

I wrote down the word write, and as I took the microphone to share it, these words tumbled out of my mouth: I’m being called to use my words to lead. The calling- heavy, precious, holy, and I carry it within me like stones for an altar; this is my act of worship.

Advent is about longing, about waiting between hope deferred and a promise fulfilled. I imagine the many generations of Israelites whose eyes strained looking for the Messiah to come only to have to pass on the baton of waiting to their children. Yet in the midst of waiting, mercy. Mary sings:

He showed mercy from generation to generation to all who fear Him. His mighty arm has done tremendous things. –Luke 1:50-51

She recounts God’s faithfulness and goodness to her people: He had exalted the humble, filled the hungry, helped His people, remembered to be merciful. She carried the Promise within her, and she sang with the weight of Him growing inside her-heavy, precious, and holy.

In this Advent season, we wait knowing Hope has come in Christ and the Promise will be fulfilled again, for good. And in the waiting between, He wants to bring His kingdom as it is in heaven to earth, and He wants to do it in us and through us.

Mary was blessed to make way for his kingdom to come by birthing and mothering Jesus, and we are blessed to do the same in whatever way he calls us to. It isn’t about our qualifications, our status, our wealth or lack thereof. It isn’t about giftings or geography or education. Mary was a lowly servant girl, whose yes became the way for Jesus to come. It was through her obedience that others were blessed.

We who are Christ followers carry the gospel within us, and we have been commissioned with power and authority to be bearers of hope, portals through which justice, truth, and love are proclaimed for those whose hearts strain for their Rescuer.

When he tells us our word, our call, to bring forth his kingdom, may we respond as Mary did, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”

What is the word or call God has been putting on your heart?

What is the first step in obeying that word?


Gracebio

Grace P. Cho is a writer, wife, and mama to two littles. She writes and is the managing editor for The Mudroom and GraceTable as well as a contributor for Inheritance Magazine and A Moment to Breathe. Her favorites include walking alongside others via mentoring and editing, speaking truth through story, sharing meals and lives at the table, coffee of any kind, and desert landscapes.

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