O Come, Hope of the Nations
Open Your Bible
Genesis 12:1-7, John 8:54-56, Romans 4:13-25, Galatians 3:7-18, 1 Peter 2:9-10
BY Guest Writer
I’d been here before, or at least some version of this place, having travelled throughout Africa working for a missional nonprofit. This time I was in Goma, a city in eastern Congo, with its never-ending dirt roads. Surrounded by the realities of a war zone—refugee camps and chaos and orphans at every glance—I was deeply afraid. My heart had become trapped by the fear that I had finally found hell on earth, a place that truly felt God-forsaken.
I was afraid I’d finally stumbled upon the one place the gospel could not penetrate. I feared it simply was not big enough for Goma; it could not possibly fix that amount of broken. But after the sun had set for the night, I took a moment to stop, to move my eyes from the chaos surrounding me, and to look up at the night sky, where countless stars shone brightly with the absence of light below.
Abraham looked at those stars once, too. As he surveyed the realities of His circumstances, alone in a new land, he saw barrenness: an aging body and an aging wife, and no baby in sight. Yet Scripture tells us “he believed, hoping against hope… fully convinced that what God had promised, He was also able to do” (Romans 4:18,21).
Long before God gave the Israelites the ten commandments—a metric by which we all fall short—He made His covenant with Abraham, promising the blessing and redemption of the whole world through the righteousness, death, and resurrection of the Messiah, Jesus. Long before the law would condemn mankind, God promised to redeem us (Galatians 3:10–18). Long before war and death, chaos and grief, hunger, disease and isolation, God had set His plan for redemption in motion.
While Abraham never saw the face of Jesus here on earth, he did receive a glimmer of hope in his son Isaac’s first cry. By faith, Abraham received God’s promise, becoming “the father of many nations” (Romans 4:17). Because of Jesus, God now calls us His own—a holy nation and royal priesthood set apart to declare the goodness, power, and mercy of the one who called out us out of darkness and into His light (1 Peter 2:9–10).
In the four years since I stood in the volcanic-ash-filled streets of Goma, there have been many times when the light of day seems to reveal nothing but the harsh realities of our fallen world. But there have been just as many dark nights, too, when the starry skies remind me of the glorious plan I’m a part of. Like Abraham, I may not understand all the seemingly impossible circumstances through which God intends to display His power, but I do know that the hope of all the nations has come.
Raised in Boulder, Colorado, Emily Blackledge’s education encouraged a love of all things international—travel, development, and culture. With degrees in economics, politics, and international conflict resolution, she now uses her passions and skills to support growth and development around the world. Since joining African Leadership in 2010, she’s helped grow the organization’s education program across Africa, fostering strong relationships throughout the continent, emphasizing local ownership and capacity development. She currently serves as African Leadership’s President, and resides in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, Rob, and their son, Fletcher. Together, they enjoy travel, shared adventures, and investing in their church, Midtown Fellowship.