Day 4

O Come, Hope of the Nations

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.

Post Comments (139)

139 thoughts on "O Come, Hope of the Nations"

  1. Kelsey Henderson says:

    I think about how lucky I am that God extended His blessing and promise not only to the Jews His chosen people but to me a gentile

  2. Ana Kirsten says:

    I think when Abraham did that, he still believed God’s promises, but he didn’t trust God’s plan. He took matters into his own hands to try and make the promise happen.

  3. Sarah Jan says:

    I love the idea that God’s plan is bigger than anything we could ever fathom, and that it cannot be amended or made better by anything here on earth. I spend too much time thinking of what I need to do next or who I need to help next, but sometimes I need to step back and realize that God is in charge of that. I cannot try to make someone else follow God’s plan, and I need to learn to love those people better. As Christmas nears, I love the concept that Jesus came after being promised for so long. Jesus is the perfect example of God always keeping His promises.

  4. Landry Petersen says:

    A little something something I wrote after this devo:
    living in the East during this holiday season has cause me to see the coming of Christmas a little differently.
    for i have stood in the midst of a whole lot of darkness.
    i have talked to women about war, extreme oppression, & the loss of children.
    i have witnessed blood sacrifices to a god without grace.
    i have looked into eyes that have lost all hope.
    but you know what?
    i have not become jaded or discouraged,
    because i know the holder of hope & restoration.
    i know the grace He gives so freely.
    He has a plan for the broken nations of this world.
    darkness will not win.
    hope will prevail.
    for our Savior has come & He will come again!
    so shout His name with boldness this season because there are people all over this Earth that desperately need to hear it.
    & let us rejoice with gladness as we wait expectantly for Christmas, as we wait expectantly for the Savior of all nations.

  5. Danielle Williams says:

    For me, I have no doubt that God can do and will do what He says He will do. My struggle in faith comes from wondering is this God’s plan for me? I think if God spoke clearly about what He wanted me to do, I’d be able to do it. Sometimes I just don’t know what path to go and I’ve read the Bible and sometimes it’s not clear in there either.

    1. Ana Kirsten says:

      I recently read a book by a Pastor named Peter Scazerro, and he said something that really struck me on this very subject. I’m paraphrasing here, but it was essentially “always follow the way of love, and it will never lead you astray.”

  6. Sara Lindauer says:

    I just love the simple and poetic rhetorical question of “is the one who promised it not also able to fulfill it?” So easy to ask, and then to forget that yes, He is. May I be a woman who has faith beyond the circumstances!

  7. Sadell Ptomey says:

    I am Thankful to God for this devotional title. I am believing in God for a miracle and the phrase “Hope against Hope” filled me up.

    Not just about what my hearts desire is, but for that “without a shadow of a doubt” relationship with my Daddy God!

    I believe that a relationship like that with Him allows for all the Kingdom principles, favor, blessings and grace to just flow without fail. Yes God come through Jesus!!! Amen

  8. Erika Forester says:

    This devotional today reminded me when I was in Africa and I looked at the chaos around me but saw so much beauty. Just like in America and in my life now, there may be much chaos but if I focus on Him and His goodness, I have nothing to worry about. His plan is perfect.

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