Daily Lent Devotional #19 (March 27, 2011)

Hebrews 6: 17-20

17 “Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”

Author and professor Henri Nouwen wrote often on the subject of “hope”.  In order to help us all understand this little, yet big word; I will allow him to describe it in his own words:

Optimism and hope are radically different attitudes. Optimism is the expectation that things—the weather, human relationships, the economy, the political situation, and so on—will get better. Hope is trust that God will fulfil God’s promises to us in a way that leads us to true freedom. The optimist speaks about concrete changes in the future. The person of hope lives in the moment with the knowledge and trust that all of life is in good hands.

Hope has nothing to do with optimism. Many people think that hope is optimism, looking at the positive side of life. But Jesus doesn’t speak like that at all. When Jesus talks about the future or the end of the world, He describes wars, people in anguish, nation rising against nation, and earthquakes. There’s no place where Jesus says, “One day it will all be wonderful.” He talks about enormous agony, but He says, “You, you (my beloved ones) pray unceasingly that you will keep your heart focused on Me. Stand with your head erect in the presence of the Son of Man. Don’t get distracted by it all. Remain focused.” Don’t think that things will clean up, and finally there won’t be any more pain. Jesus is saying that the world is dark, and will remain dark. 

If you live with hope, you can live very much in the present because you can nurture the footprints of God in your heart and life. You already have a sense of what is to come. And the whole of the spiritual life is saying that God is right with us, right now, so that we can wait for His coming, and this waiting is a waiting in hope. But because we wait with hope we know that what we are waiting for is already here. We have to nurture that. Here and now matters because God is a God of the present. And God is God of the present because He is God of Eternity…Hope is to open yourself up to let God do His work in you in ways that transcend your imagination…to let yourself be led to new places.

     Hope means to keep living amid desperation

     and to keep humming in the darkness

     Hoping is knowing that there is love

     it is trust in tomorrow

     it is falling asleep and waking again

     when the sun rises.

     In the midst of a gale at sea, it is to discover land.

     In the eyes of another

     it is to see that you are understood.

          . . . .

     As long as there is still hope

     There will also be prayer

          . . . . .

     And God will be holding you in His Hands.


Pastor Josh

Published in: on March 27, 2011 at 5:40 AM  Leave a Comment  
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