May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)

Paul the Apostle of Christ travelled as a prisoner, with other prisoners, onboard a ship for trial in Rome.  Suddenly there was a calamitous storm, and the sailors threw away lots of the ship’s load and furniture.  For many days the sun and stars could not be seen, the storm intensified, and all were losing hope for survival. All had been without food for 14 days.  Such was the atmosphere when Paul wrote his Letter that speaks of joy.

Faith is the assurance that the human being will find the good, the reward, and salvation, but it is also faith that God’s joy will come at a time of God’s choosing.  Faith gives us joy, assurance, and peace when we yearn for our far away hopes.  

Faith makes us feel that our dreams have materialized.  Despair, on the other hand, yields sadness. Those who have faith are patient and resilient in their struggle, because they know that hard work will make their hope come true. The greater our hope, the greater also is the possibility that it will come true.

Despite the hardship of Palestinians in the Holy Land, and that of the youth in particular, God remains the only constant in everything, and is the compass that guides us to our aspired goal.  Our faith in God is not only about mere hope that the future will be better; no, this is not what faith is all about.  

Faith is not a mere positive attitude toward life’s challenges.  A person of faith is not one who accepts everything.  These are good attributes, but are not what hope is all about!  Faith is the most modest of all attributes, and is difficult to unpack because it is embedded in the daily details of our life.  

Faith is the yearning for joy and peace, and it resembles a ship’s anchor on the beach of life.  Our life is a journey towards that anchor.  My Christian faith is alive because my Lord invites me to live that type of life, and He asks me to give life. 

Such is the life of Palestinians.  We have faith - despite the challenges we endure - that resurrection will come, and there will be a new life with freedom as the last word.   

May the God of hope fill our young people with all joy and peace on this land.

World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel