for here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come. ~ Hebrews 13:14
a good friend, ashlee, reminded me recently about *hope*. it was timely, and good… she is in the same “club” as myself… among those who know sorrow as a constant companion… those who are never far from tears, but yet know deep joy and true hope. She reminded me that it is our purpose to remind women that there IS hope, even in painful and hard times. Hope through Jehovah Roi. Jehovah Shammah. Jehovah Rapha.
When she said that my whole being cried out “YES! yes… that IS what I want to do with my life… in all my relationships… for my family, for Jeremiah… in this blog, for *you*… bring hope!!
But how often do we throw words around without really a deep understanding… words like “kindness” or “hope” or “faith.”
I realized how shallow my thinking is on many things when I first heard Dr. Dan Allender say, “kindness is *not* niceness… it is an open-armed invitation for you to find peace in my presence.” … wow… do you agree with me?? does that not shatter your perception of yourself as a mostly “kind” person??
Anyway, back to *hope*… I want to enter on a journey toward hope, and invite you to join me. But it must be a completely honest journey… true hope comes through a struggle with reality… with unbelief… a struggle with darkness itself. The hope i want isn’t a fake smile plastered on my face and light talk about summer vacations… i want to know it in my soul and feel it in my bones…
which incidentally reminds me of what Dr. Allender said about hope… i have to add that when he said this, I was there listening to him in person, I just about laughed out loud at his brutal honesty… but that’s why I love him so much. this is what he said (a paraphrase): “this is reality: “things will not ultimately get better”… you WILL die and it will NOT be pleasant… there will be spilling of body fluids… pain… it will be just awful... How then do we have hope? If it’s not about things getting “better”?
If kindness is not merely niceness and hope is not merely optimism… and Jesus sets the stage for ultimate “kindness” (for it is through Jesus absorbing the totality of God’s wrath through his death on the cross, that God the Father is able to offer us the gift of kindness: “an open armed invitation to find peace in HIS presence.” Again, I think of Rembrandt’s painting, “The Return of the Prodigal.”)… then how does Jesus give us a true understanding of “hope”?
it is this confidence: “From this blood… this death, I WILL see life come.” (see John 6:53-54)
Hope looks at the reality of death… the reality of pain… the reality of evil and darkness… yet sees a day of redemption, of *resurrection* coming.
Hope is a “memory of the future.”
There is no true hope without the resurrection. And for the resurrection to be good news, you have to accept the free gift of God’s forgiveness… and in accepting, repent… “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out…” ~ Acts 3:19.
More verses on HOPE:
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace,comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. ~ 2 Thess 2:16-17