Focus: 1 Peter 1 - A Living Hope!
Today I want to wax nostalgic. It has been said that hope deferred makes the heart sick! Sometimes I think that this has been a theme in my life until about April 1, 2019. When we have a constant hope that continues to bring us to "almost fruition", only to be ripped away, the soul can become rigid, lackluster, and sick. You feel that you cannot hope any longer because the only thing that can come true is trouble.The optimism that was dripped off my tongue and engulfed my heart so easily back in my day was now a parched wasteland of dreams and good intentions. This last disappointment was so devastating as I thought that I had finally found a home where I could serve out my days with meaning and purpose. I cannot tell you how sick it made me to have it taken away in just one moment - a moment that to this day I still cannot believe - a moment that strains my incredulity!. This time I was absolutely blindsided and the more I cried out to be heard, the very people that I trusted and loved seemed to cast us away as though they never knew us! The many that decried our love and concern for them, never to be forgotten, would not even return a personal text for help. Promises were made to be there if we ever needed them, only to fade from view when we lost our church home! To do something wrong and to be accused is one thing. To be totally innocent of what appeared to be nothing only to to thrown away like yesterday's garbage is a feeling that I want no one else to share. It almost broke us.....BUT GOD! So when I researched Job this last week for my sermon, the story was too vivid not to draw some blood! If I felt the way I did after losing my job for no reason, being 23 months unemployed without a steady income, to find full time church work finally, only to have it ripped away with no feeling or remorse; if I felt this way, how much more did Job feel or even Jesus feel for that matter when their greatest hope and desire to help humanity was brutally violated? My Hope Deferred was Hope gone and very few seemed to even care! Even friends who shared our tears and heartsickness, just returned to their lives unchanged, returning back to the seat of our needless destruction as if nothing ever happened! Their disappointment evaporated away like the morning mist of a humid sunny Florida morning like they remembered your pain no more! Downer right?
In 1 Peter 1, Peter talks about God being a Living hope! Even when our souls are in a drought that never seems to end, Christ finds a way to let your tears fall to the ground only to water a seed that ultimately springs eternal! Like the pain of childbirth, the moment God shows himself when you have lost all hope, the hope of God's love lifts you to your feet and embraces that place in your heart that went underground for protection. This may to too long, some are saying "as usual", but today the Lord revealed that there are many who feel the way I do. To the optimist, disappointment zaps your strength as you struggle to breathe, ...... BUT GOD! Then in just 1 day, God shows you a vision of a future that seems too hard and tortuous to be yet believed, but your continue on putting one foot in front of the other in seemingly abject isolation. One more strained step becomes a light walk. The lighter walk becomes a brisk walk and before you know it, you are running a race that you seemingly did not choose, but one that brings excitement and HOPE! You then see your purpose in God in a way that cannot be quenched and God shows himself the wiser and you can rejoice! We are still running in the drought-ridden existence but God makes the refreshing wind and the sprinkles of rain feel like heaven because your purpose and the justification of your struggle has been revealed! Lord, I truly understand now. Thank you for holding on to me when I wanted to let you go. I understand my wife's struggle to hold onto me when I seemed hell-bent to ruin our lives! This is my story! This is my song! Praising my Savior all the day long. This is MY story. This is MY Song... Praising MY Savior.... ALL the DAY long! Amen.