Tuesday, April 24

Hope Against Hope

My reading is in Romans these days. That's where the L3 Journal has led us. And, this guide has not led me astray yet. As we plow through the calendar and read the passages that everyone else following the guide is reading, God speaks DIRECTLY to my needs THAT day. That's the absolute beauty of His Word... it's applicable to every situation that life provides.

Today, I was getting caught up and reading through Romans 4. I came across a curious grouping of words in verse 18,

"Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations."

Have you ever hoped against ALL hope?

Me too! As children, I believe that we all hope for things that we KNOW will NEVER come true. I mean, that's the nature of a fairy tale! Frogs don't REALLY turn into princes, a princess can't REALLY be kissed out of a deep, death-like sleep, and human beings can't REALLY become vampires and live forever with the love of their life. (I couldn't help myself!)

But... there's still the hope!

Well, Abraham didn't JUST hope against all hope. He believed  in that hope. He was OLD; and, yet, he believed that he would be the father of many nations. Why? Because God said it.

The other night, as I was falling asleep, I began to think about all of the uncertainty in my life right now. There are so many questions and so few answers. I was praying and voicing to God that I KNOW that He has all of this under control. I was expressing that I trust Him with the details of our life. I BELIEVE that He will uncover the details of His plan to us when the time is right.

BUT... as I was praying, I had to confess to God that those are the beliefs that I WANT to have. However, my faith, these days, is small. I began to plead with Him that He would take the small amount of faith that I have and multiply it like the bread and fish He multiplied in the New Testament.

I have to believe that THIS is the kind of faith that Abraham had! He had a relationship with God. He knew God to be faithful. But... "father of many nations? Do you know how old I am, God?"

And, then God took whatever small amount of faith that Abraham offered, multiplied it, and "it was credited to him as righteousness".

A few verses later, Paul writes of Abraham, "he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised."

Are you hoping against hope for anything right now? I would venture to guess that the restoration of your seemingly hopeless situation would not require more power than it took to make a really old man the father of many nations. Could you take that situation to the Lord being persuaded that HE has the power to do all that He's promised?

If we can hope with THIS kind of hope, I believe God will multiply it. We will be blessed, because He WILL prove faithful. And, He will be glorified as our faith is credited to us as righteousness, because OUR righteousness ALWAYS points to HIM!

Thursday, April 12

Roller Coasters

I love roller coasters! I haven't always. But, at some point during my older teenage years, I had a great friend that persuaded me to give them a try (thank you, Macy). And, I've been a fan since then.

Don't get me wrong, I still panic each time the coaster makes the first climb. It seems so long and drawn out. But, after the first fall, it's pure enjoyment for me. I love all of the starts and stops, climbs and falls, twists and turns.

But, when LIFE feels like a roller coaster, that's not so much fun! When LIFE provides starts and stops, climbs and falls, twists and turns, I DON'T consider that to be fun. In fact, I consider it annoying. But, life IS a roller coaster. Right?

Life doesn't follow a straight, uneventful path for ANYONE. Our twists and turns are different, but every life has them. And, the falls are only truly experienced because the peaks have been such a blessing. Sometimes, I'm thankful for the starts and stops. While the roller coaster ride can cause some annoyance to our lives, can we admit that the straight, uneventful path would be.... BORING!!!!

However bothersome it may be, it is what it is. This is it! This is the life we've been given. These are the circumstances we've been handed. And, THIS is the situation CHOSEN for us. So, now what?!?!?

That's where I've been for the past week and a half that I haven't been blogging. I've just been thinking. My own personal roller coaster MAY or MAY NOT have plummeted and hung out in the valley for a few days. There just aren't any real answers right now. STILL. My reports to everyone interested are the same each and every time they ask. And, I WANT the next step.

This morning, I read the last chapter of John. What a great book! At the end, Jesus appears to the disciples for the third time, and they are fishing. They come to the shore to eat the fish they've caught for breakfast. Jesus has a little conversation with Peter, because Peter's roller coaster had recently left great heights and fallen to great depths. He'd experienced life with Jesus; but, when it really counted, Peter blew it. So, after it had been re-established that Peter was indeed Christ's disciple, what did Jesus tell Peter to do?

"Follow me."

WAIT!!!! He's already commanded the disciples to do THAT! THAT was the VERY FIRST thing that He asked them to do! Didn't He have something NEW for them to do? Wasn't He supposed to provide them with the next step?

YES! All throughout Acts, they are doing one new thing after another. BUT... first, they are following Christ's lead. I'm sure each and every disciple of Jesus had frustrations and concerns after He left this earth. But, as they thought back, He'd given them one command in the very beginning and He'd given them the exact same command just before He left them. If ever they came to a point where they didn't know what to do next, they could rely on the very first instruction given to them.

"Follow me."

These two words spoke volumes to me this morning. There are still a lot of unknowns! A LOT! But, I can NEVER say that I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing. I'm supposed to be following Christ. The roller coaster may climb and fall, start and stop, twist and turn. But, He's leading and I'm following!

It may not be as FUN as those roller coasters in amusement parks. But, this roller coaster has a purpose. This is LIFE! It's short, but it's supposed to have meaning. So, stay the winding course, because...

"He who began a good work in you will continue it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6