Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hope



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Two thoughts... this can be surprisingly hard. :) Let's see what comes first...



Ah...
1.)Reading Jeremiah 18, I find myself realizing once more the need for action in our country. The need for obedience to God. The need to have true hope.


"O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them... Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good. And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart."


So often I look around me and say, "There is no hope." I see how very far my country, how very far the world, has slid away from following God, how close we are to the point of no return. The signs of the times are not indicating peace and prosperity, but rather, I truly think, the end of the world. I watch the swiftness with which we fall helplessly, hopelessly discouraged that I can ever make a difference. Then I read this and realize that it is never too late. At what instant God declares judgement, He is still willing to turn from punishing , still asking for repentance. His mercy is so great!

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

This is His promise. Why should I waste time mourning how far gone our country already is? Peter says, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." I truly can make a difference to every man that asks me. There is no place for discouragement in my life when I am following my Lord. All is does is take my strength, lessen my ability to work for Him. The darker the land about me, the brighter His light can shine through me. We don't have to give up on America. Even now, if we will all turn to God, He will still heal our land.



"But I will hope continually,and will yet praise Thee more and more."



2.) Looking for something beautiful, for something inspiring, I pulled one of my absolute favorite books off the shelf - appropriately entitled Hope Rising. I love this book; I received it as a gift years ago, and reading it gave me one of the first glimpses of how God could give a vision, and transform horror and pain into beauty and glory. The book is amazing. Suddenly I'm realizing these 2 thoughts are connected, but this excerpt might inspire you more than my own scattered thoughts. :) Read slowly, and see the goodness of God in these words, written by someone whose parents died in a murder-suicide when she was only 9.


"When our hope falls to its knees and takes its last gasp before death, there is an answer. It is simple. It lies free for every soul to choose. When you are surrounded, instead of anxiously looking from side to side, look up. Change your view with a new perspective.


Look up and see what the Maker sees. Instead of a destroyed circle, He sees a vital clearing where the light of truth can penetrate. Instead of a ring of ash, He sees previous snaring distractions burned into usable nutrients. Instead of barrenness, He sees a circle where something enduring can grow, something that is beautiful, something that is permanent.


God doesn't see wild flames on every side lapping at our souls. he sees cleansing fire that consumes the dross of complacency. he sees hearts tempered with strength, purified like gold.


God doesn't see a descending black fog encircling its shrouded victims with the icy grip of despair. He sees a temporary veil that encourages faith to rise out of meandering convenience and be galvanized with power into a force that moves mountains.


God doesn't see a hungry precipice yawning open to swallow us whole. He sees the perfect opportunity for hope to unfurl its wings and soar free over logic that tells us what is and isn't possible.


Even the utter devastation of death's finality before God is not final. It is His desire that our loss with embolden and motivate us to love those who remain with even greater passion and selflessness...


When we feel like we're surrounded, it is only because we truly are - we are surrounded by His love.


It is true, the pain that we feel in this life is certain. What is equally certain is how we choose to feel about the pain. It can destroy us - or define us.


Like standing on a mountainous trail, we can choose which way to go. We can choose where we end up. When confronted by pain, we can choose to take descending trail that most often leads to a dark and lonely place, pitted with mires of helplessness, hopelessness, despair.


Or we can select the ascending trail and, with some effort and perseverance, we can choose to allow our pain to motivate us toward becoming better people, to move us toward a better place. A place where love transcends selfishness, where faith bulldozes the "what ifs," and where peace enfolds the heart like a warm blanket. It is a place where joy takes on as many faces as humanity. It is a place where flowers bloom in ash.


Like an unstoppable wave of light pouring over the horizon, it is a place where hope rises."




May hope rise in you today, and may "the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost."

2 thoughts shared:

Jessica said...

This is so true and lovely Kate. I love it! I think my favorite words is Hope.

Thank you for sharing this I loved it!

Katherine Sophia said...

Thank you! I think I'm starting to realize how very important Hope is. I enjoyed writing this post, too. :D

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