For we are aliens and transients before you, as were all our ancestors; our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope. I Chronicles 29:15  (or we are strangers and wanderers)

So we do not lose heart. Even through our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16 

This verse from I Chronicles seems a bit depressing. Ending as it does with “there is no hope,” it doesn’t seem very inspiring. This is part of a prayer of David at the end of I Chronicles, which starts with praise to God, refers to the donations for building the temple, and includes his hopes for the people not to forget the past as they move forward under Solomon.  

Rather than no hope at all, David is saying that with God, there is hope. He says that it is remarkable that the people are able to be generous. This is possible since God has been so generous with people who are strangers and wanderers, certainly not a rich population. I was listening to a speaker this week speak about gratitude, about having a positive attitude each day and being grateful for what we have. He said, even with problems that we may have, we are so privileged compared to many other groups of people. We are not living with a war raging around us, with wildfires, with floods. Most of us have plenty of food and shelter and access to health care. We can begin each day remembering what we have instead of worrying about what we don’t have.

On our own, we often do lose hope and forget about gratitude. Paul reminded the Corinthians to not lose heart, but to remember what God has done for them. He is apparently ill and wasting away, at least physically. Yet he feels his inner self being renewed, by his faith in Jesus, from day to day. Verse 18 concludes chapter 4: “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Eternal God of the wilderness, left to ourselves we are utterly hopeless. Praise and thanks to you that we are never left to ourselves. Our lives are gathered into the risen life of Christ. Alleluia! May we always know you as our creator, our strength, and our everlasting home. Inspire us to proclaim our confidence in Word and deed today, so that your peace may reign in our hearts and your name be blessed. In Jesus name, Amen.

Chris Gabel