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
8 thoughts on “Jerusalem”
Good to see you writing again. Sounds like this new group may be helpful.
Thanks Angie! I actually met Ashlee through this blog, she lives in CA :o) but yes, I’m excited to go to MEND this coming Tuesday, and the leader Sara Hinz has been wonderful :o))
Catherine, I was struck by D definition of kindness and your blog post. It makes me wonder how many times in my life I have been kind. hope perceived as a memory of the future is much more difficult. We have been left with future memories of heaven which are often allegorical. I believe that the best thing about heaven this is the Lamb is the light. The Lamb in His first Advent repeatedly made the point that it was his desire to acquaint us intimately with his Father. without any knowledge of detail I can still picture this introduction to be the greatest act of kindness I will ever receive.this fills me with hope, even though I do not possess a great many details about what this will be like.I am so thankful to the Word of God enter the Spirit of God for showing me who Jesus and his father are and what they are like. The greatest help to me in understanding what God is like is a statement made by the Apostle John “…God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” as I contemplate this statement I’m filled with great hope. Thank you for your post. I will pray for you and ask God to give you his kindness and hope. Regards, Dale Huffstutler
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Hi Dale! I always love your thoughts when you reply to my blogs :o) And all my memories of you at HTC involve your kindness to me in the truest sense! the idea that “hope is a memory of the future” refers to the resurrection, that was my only intended implication. I’m not into the visions and stories of heaven that have become popular through “heaven is for real” book and movie. I do also love the idea that the Lamb is all the light of Emmanuel’s land!! I wrote about that in one of my “Dear Tirzah” letters!
Thank you for your wise words, Catherine. Your thoughts on what kindness and hope really mean are so good for me to think about and especially meaningful coming from your heart that is grieving but truly hopeful.
Thanks Amy! it means a lot to me that you read my blog and find it encouraging :oD
Catherine, Thank you for this blog. It was encouraging to me! Sometimes I dwell on the negative and forget about “hope.” Hope is what is real in this life. You can’t rely on people, places, or things. We are all going through the Valley of the Shadow of Death; we are just at different points along the way. But we shouldn’t be fearful because God is with us through it all. He is our hope! He is our Peace! Mom
Beautiful! Amen to that girlfriend!