Sunday, January 8, 2012

LIFE: Reasons for Hope

You tell your kid that if they brave the flu shot, you'll take them out for ice cream afterwards.

You tell your kid that if they brave the flu shot, you'l buy them Breyers the company, so that they make millions a year and can have all of the ice cream they want.

From Romans 8:
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

The hardships of loneliness, fears about the uncertainties of the future, disappointment in others, disappointment in ourselves are here today and are real.  But redemption is coming, and it's disproportionate.  For that hope, we can wait and endure. 

There's an ache inside of all of us for something more than what we have.  Not all of the money in the world, not a special someone in your life, not all of the physical pleasures of life can fill it.  We feel that ache now because we were made for something more, for eternity, for a life that makes the most pleasureable experiences in this world seemed 1-D and tasteless and monochromatic compared to a vidvid, 4-D world that we can't even fathom now with our limited ability to comprehend what can be.

We have tastes of what can be today.  God gives good gifts.  Endless combinations of delightful foods.
Friends through whom Jesus shines, who bring encouragement and love and friendship in the darkest times. 

Beautiful sights of snowfall in woods, mountains swimming through clouds, the sunset over a beach. 

The invigorating feeling of being alive when you run at tempo pace, making you breathe hard and feel the blood runnig through your veins.

One time when I was desperate for reasons to not "give up", I tried googling it.  The results were pretty disappointing.  In the end, the most powerful reason for me is to not hurt the ones I love.  I know people who live with some degree of guilt today because they felt like they could've possiby done something to help, but they didn't know how to, or were busy, or maybe didn't know the extent of it.  As a side note, for whatever it's worth coming from me, it's not your fault.  Don't feel guilty.  Anyway, those people have saved me countless times without knowing it.

I mention all of that because I think that this hope of redemption is another reason.

Another good reason, continuing with Romans 8...
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

The Spirit helps us in our weakness with groanings too deep for words when we don't even know how to pray.  Why we go through stuff isn't clear and may not ever be made clear in this life.  But we can trust in the person of Christ.  We know from what he has done and who he is that he can be trusted.  He is saddened by what saddens us, and death and decay aren't what life is meant to be (John 11:35).  "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).  He's met our greatest need already, a Savior.  He's given us the Holy Spirit, a counselor.  Jesus is our friend and interceder (Hebrews 4:14-16, Romans 8:34). 

These are my reasons for hope.

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