Take a moment to notice any lightness or tension in your body. Are you full of energy or feeling depleted? Are your shoulders tight? Are you thirsty?

Ask God how you can take good care of God’s love embodied in you today.

Breathe in deeply and breathe out slowly four times, remembering God’s care and love for you with each breath.

And hear these words from Jeremiah 29:11:

I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope.

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When the man saw that he couldn’t defeat Jacob, he grabbed Jacob’s thigh and tore a muscle in Jacob’s thigh as he wrestled with him. The man said, “Let me go because the dawn is breaking.”

But Jacob said, “I won’t let you go until you bless me.”

Genesis 32:25-26

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Jacob wrestles all night long with a mysterious divine being in the wilderness. You’d think Jacob would see the futility of a never-ending struggle and just give up, letting go of his wrestling partner by morning. But no! Jacob is convinced that even a difficult, drawn out, painful scuffle like this will result – somehow, someway – in a divine blessing.

Like Jacob, one way that we can practice hope is to anticipate blessing. It’s easier to look at tough situations in life only as conditions to survive; it takes intention and practice to look for growth opportunities or other kinds of blessings when we find ourselves in the messy middle of life. We can learn from Jacob to keep wrestling with whatever it is that troubles us until God blesses us. Maybe the blessing will come through finding a great counselor or talking to a friend. Maybe the blessing will come through learning how to pray daily or try walking meditation for the first time. What might it mean for you to practice anticipating blessing today?

Katie Strednak Singer

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Holy One, practicing hope is hard spiritual work! Guide me in learning how to anticipate your blessing even in the midst of all that I am grappling with today. Help me to grow closer to you on the tough days and on joyful ones! Amen.

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No matter what you are wrestling with today, remember that God goes with you along the way. Together with God, you can make it through hard things!

God has said:

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

Isaiah 43:2

Katie Strednak Singer

Rev. Katie Strednak Singer currently serves as Associate Pastor at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in McLean, Virginia. She loves creation care, traveling, cheesy puns, puppy videos, sharing meals with friends, and frequenting Virginia’s tree-lined trails with her partner, Scott, and their two dogs, Peace and Indiana Bones.

Preludes, Book 1 L. 117: No. 10, La Cathédrale Engloutie

Garry Bailey

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