In my last blog entry I wrote about the idea of Hope being a journey, and the idea that true hope comes through the *resurrection*. In this post, I want to explore the journey in more detail… The general outline below is based on a chart from Dr. Allender’s Trauma Care conference.(if you’d like a full copy let me know!!)
Dr. Allender opened the conference by describing each of our lives as a story. We were created by GOD- Elohim. We were *written* by God. Psalm 139:16 says, “your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
Therefore, God is Author and God is also *Authority*… He drops us into a story, without explanation, and we cannot demand one of Him… Our stories are not ours alone- they *belong* to the Author. Our stories are eternally important… each meant to uniquely show forth the Story of God. Therefore, *your* story is worth exploring, knowing, and making available to the Kingdom of God.
Dr. Allender outlined four parts to each story (although some stories may never progress out of part three, tragically).
1) Shalom . This is a stage of innocence… peace… and *hope*… where goodness and kindness where known.
2) Shalom Shattered. This is where peace is disrupted, and tragedy enters.
3) Shalom Sought. Dr. Allender explained, this is where we live in the midst of being “East of Eden”- and trying to find our way back home. But the doorway is blocked by two Angels with swords of fire… this reminds us that the way home will be a different route. But in this stage of the story, we are trying to get back “home” on our own efforts, we are trying to rescue ourselves… thus, the more we seek, the more we loose… and as Dr. Allender says, “here the story thickens and the plot develops.”
4) Shalom Restored. This is the “denouement” (Ryan and i always look at each other and laugh when we’re listening to Dan Allender and he uses words like “denouement”… this would be a classic example!!… If you’re like me and never heard this word before, it means “to loosen”… and is “the final part of a play, movie, or narrative in which the strands of the plot are drawn together and matters are explained or resolved.” )
This is where GOD comes in and rescues. Jehovah Goelekh (Isaiah 49:26&60:16) – The LORD Thy Redeemer.
Each person’s life will have an overarching story, but within that countless smaller stories in which we will move in and out of these stages.
Following the above outline, the storyline of Hope goes like this:
1) Hope. Characterized in the most basic sense of dreams and desires.
2) Disillusionment & Powerlessness (Hope shattered). I think that when tragedy enters and people experience a shattering of hope, very often they are unaware of their deeper feelings and connections with behaviors or reactions, and very much unable to piece together underlying motivations and have the ability to articulate them… So as you read in this section and the next, it may be a stretch of your thoughts… but please bare with me ;o)
Here in the disillusionment and powerlessness is the feeling of being made a *fool*. After the shattering, the former dreams and desires seem foolish. Some common reactions of the human heart would be cynicism, addictions- as an escape from the risk of hope, and seeking a sense of power through indifference – “if i can’t control the future then i will not care what happens.”
3) “Stranger” & Anger. Here is where we try to rescue ourselves from this sense of disillusionment, powerlessness and foolishness. The cynicism can morph further into anger, bitterness, and revenge… and in all these, our hearts are closed off to other people, and in some measure to God. There is a vow ( made consciously or unconsciously) that “no one will get to my heart.”
4) Hope Restored= True Hope–> becomes Prophet. This again is where GOD comes in and rescues us… Here *Hope* is restored through God’s promises… and primarily of the resurrection. The “Denouement” is where Hope finds it’s solid ground in the Resurrection of Jesus, for there on the cross He defeated sin and death.
Isaiah 25:8~ he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.
Romans 8 (selections)~ Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death... The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;… And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you… Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
This confidence in the resurrection, leading to eternal glory gives us TRUE HOPE!!!
True Hope will produce ***AWE*** … which is another word for worship. We will also have confidence in the victory of God’s eternal Kingdom as the culmination of time… this is the “memory of what is to come”… We will begin to PRAY and FAST for what will be…. we will be disturbed and defiant with a holy disruption and a holy defiance (as Dan would say ;o))… against evil gaining ground in this world and in our own homes and hearts. **More hope will bring more disruption, perhaps chaos, and more defiance into your life.** (if you question this, look at the lives of the disciples after Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension… what did the resurrection do to their lives??)
Thus, steps the Prophet onto stage.
The Prophet or Prophetess will be one who speaks of *true hope* to others… Who brings holy disruption into people’s lives by a call for repentance… and draws forth passion for the coming Kingdom of God… provokes others to FIGHT for goodness, beauty, and *Truth* to gain ground.
I will end this post with one of my favorite things Dan Allender said during the Trauma Care Conference:
He said “Our calling before God is to make the Gospel known. THIS is immense fun! If you’re not having fun in your life, it’s because your life is not oriented toward destroying evil. FUN= putting your FOOT on the neck of EVIL and crushing that “SOB” (hey, Dan said that not me! ;o) ) “What brings your heart to *fury*? What makes *your* heart cry out “HELL, No!” Stand Against untruth anywhere in the world. Take back territory for the Kingdom of God… Engage the Kingdom of God… *play* with God in the fields of God”