I am presently sitting on an inherited footstool from my great-grandmother.
An antique floor lamp casts minimal light upon me as stare at the blank screen of my laptop computer.
Quite frankly, I do not “feel” like writing.
My mind has a storm of thought, and I struggle to know what to birth and send out to oblivion.
I am thinking about the word “hope”.
How exactly is it defined? I do not want to use the dictionary this evening, I do not want to use a commentary, I don’t even want to use a concordance. Call me a scholastic fool, I don’t care ( I don’t even know if “scholastic” is a word tonight…is it?) Call me an uneducated homemaker, I don’t care about that either.
My present world is surrounded by living conditions that I would love to “wish” away; homeless people, broken people, societal misfits, prostitutes, addicts, Hell’s Angels, even the Russian Mob (I’ve been told);and high rates of suicide and depression moved in long ago.
Ask me if I want to live in this “God-forsaken”, dark, foreboding town and my “flesh” would readily reply “nope!”
There have been mornings I have awoken to an overwhelming spirit of feeling “trapped” and a desperate weak plea leaves my lips, “Pleeease God, find me a way OUT of this place!” My mind moves on to recall memories of two WONDERFUL years lived in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia.
Vancouver consists of the same patchwork of disfunction…WHY am I affected and infected so differently by it in this town? My answers leave me with shame, sorrow and a desperate plea for Jesus to change my heart! The stench emerging from my attitude could shut up every barking, howling dog in my neighbourhood.
“Create in me a clean heart..for I have turned my face from You…save us from our ways, O God, O God…for we have turned away from You…Lord have mercy…” (Gungor: “We will Run”)
Just WHO do I think “I” am?
Is it true of my eyes that they have become narrowly focused on what “I” have deemed “unlovely”?
As part of a trip to India a few years ago we were taken into the heart of the slums, literal garbage dumps that hosted homes made from recycled GARBAGE; my heart was broken, torn and heavy with desperation as I walked through what these poor people called “home”.
Where I live presently is widely removed from these conditions in parts of India and yet the pompous nose of my heart is turned up in attitude. I have come to adopt a North American attitude of entitlement. A heart attitude that clearly shouts, “I AM BETTER THAN YOU, I DESERVE TO LIVE WHERE I THINK I BELONG!!!”
BAH!! I Stink!
Where is the hope in this? Where is my hope as I face myself in the mirror? Who is this woman who “preaches” love for Jesus and yet her heart whines at being placed in the middle of the very crowds Jesus spent all His time with? Is her faith real?
“Take me to the edge of hell Lord, THAT’S where I want to serve you!!” Yes, THAT IS EXACTLY what I prayed four years ago.
You have heard it said, “be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.”
God answered that prayer and here I am, confronted with the greatest battle of hell I have ever faced in my life.
I feel like cranking of a Jonah, but the thought of sleeping inside a whale doesn’t sound like a good time to me.
So where and what is hope?
I just read Psalm 103.
It is written there that God does not treat us as our sins deserve, that our sinful junk is removed from us “as far as the east is from the west”, (I don’t think that Columbus nailed a measurement on that distance).
A beginning then, is knowing that in the midst of my shadowed heart of sin I can be forgiven, cleared of this wrongful debt I know that I should owe, but no longer do.
I also read that God remembers that we are “dust”…I so thankful He has not forgotten that tonight.
Hope for me in this mess of heart and stubborn will, means that I can turn the page on this chapter of my life and KNOW that the next page WILL tell a different story, and because of God’s work of redemption (making me new), the RESULT of REMOVAL of my sin, I KNOW my heart and mind WILL BE changed.
” But this I CALL TO MIND, and THEREFORE I have HOPE: the steadfast love of the Lord NEVER CEASES; His mercies NEVER come to an end; they are NEW EVERY MORNING; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lam. 3:21-23)
I have only lived in this town one year, early conclusions are dangerous ones. I await in hope that if God’s love is unending and constant, and His faithfulness is GREAT, then I can TRUST Him for that FOR these precious lives that I live among WHO NEED HIM DESPERATELY.
My attitude speaks a message to them that they are hope-LESS….WOAH! Where is Jesus in THAT message baby girl?!
So there you have it folks, my sinful heart laid bare and with it needed discovery; I am as broken as everyone else around me.
For me tonight… simply stated;