Whenever my boys feel shame or are uncomfortable, they’ll often look away or bury their head in their chest. If they’re wearing a hoodie, they’ll pull it over their head, as if trying to become invisible. I have a similar impulse. When I’m ashamed or feel vulnerable, defeated, or hopeless, it’s easy to try to hide. With my sons, I draw close to them and calmly say, “Look up at me. I need to see your eyes.”

Though this is not always true (sometimes I’m angry or frustrated), I hope that when my sons lock eyes with mine they’ll see my love for them. I hope that though they feel disheartened, they’ll encounter some grace in me that sparks hope and life within them.

Jesus stirred embers of hope and life within His disciples. Explaining that they would soon enter a crushing, despairing time, He gave the details of a coming apocalypse when the disciples’ lives would teeter on the edge. “The nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas,” Jesus warned (Luke 21:25). This will be a dire time when many will find it impossible to cling to hope. “People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth,” Jesus warned, “for the powers in the heavens will be shaken” (Luke 21:26).

And precisely at that impossible moment, Jesus assured, His disciples must “stand and look up, for [their] salvation is near!” (Luke 21:28). When we feel most fragile, most at risk, this is the time when we’re to cling most tenaciously to the promise of God’s rescue.

When our faith turns feeble and our prospects disintegrate, God tells us to lift up our heads and awaken our hope. We watch for Him, confidently expecting His deliverance.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: John 20:24–21:14