Saturday, April 23, 2011

Solid Hope

With the arrival of spring, I figured my blog was in need of a little updating...or maybe it's just the "nesting" thing going a little too far...Well, whatever the case I picked the dandelion flower because it really is a symbol of hope. As children we picked them and "made a wish". My wishes ranged from hoping the good day would never end, (it always did) hoping I would get that toy that would finally bring me happiness, (it never did) or even hoping "that boy" would like me after all (praise God he didn't!!!). I can look back and laugh about it now, but also see the way my mind has matured from thinking of something I hoped for really only being a wish. You see wishes sometimes come true, but often they don't...and aren't we glad some of them don't! Something that our hearts can "wish" for with ultimate longing and anticipation can turn out to be bad for us or detrimental to our health or well being. Hope however is something far different from a wish.

Hope is defined as "to have confident trust, to look forward with expectation, security, and FAITH".

Friends, what are you hoping for today? Or rather in Whom are you placing your hope in?

We have alot of changes coming for us in the next few months. The biggest of course is that we are anticipating the arrival of a little baby girl in about 7 weeks. Having lost two babies last year though has changed my hope. While I eagerly anticipate and fervently pray that I will get to hold a living baby girl upon delivery, my faith rests in knowing God loves me and my baby more than I could imagine. My hope is in the Lord. So while I can hardly wait for June to come, I also relish every kick, hiccup, and movement she is making in my womb today because today is the day the Lord has given to me. Oh how different this is from how I used to hope! My faith used to rest upon the object of my desire coming trust in the Lord came from the positive result of what I wanted to have happen truly happening. But friends, that is not hope! That is not security! The only unchanging, ever faithful assurance we have in this life is through believing that Jesus died on the cross for us and is alive in heaven as the Savior of our souls . Everything else in this life is changeable. We can plan for tomorrow. We can wish this or that will happen in the future. But our hope must rest on the only One who is unchangeable...Jesus Christ.

"He is the rock
His work is perfect
For all His ways are justice
A God of truth and without injustice
Righteous and upright is He."
Deuteronomy 32:4

Friends this isn't easy. There are so many people and things I have placed my hope in more than the Lord, so I know the fear of letting God have his rightful place in our hearts. But only putting God as our highest and truest hope with bring the security our hearts long for. I pray that as we celebrate his resurrection this weekend, you will open up your heart to Him and place all your hope in the only One who will never let you down.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Not Forgotten

I was wide awake last night for a few hours...a blessing of the pregnant insomnia I have wrestled with for almost eight months. I often use it as my time to pray though and it has become kind of a welcome time since no one needs me and my house is quiet. Well I woke up with this phrase running through my head "I am all you've ever needed...I am all you will ever need". It replayed over and over and over as I prayed for different people and finally I just stopped and listened. All throughout the book of Isaiah we see this familiar theme as well...the Lord saying things like "There is no other God besides Me, I am God and there is no other...I am God and there is no one like Me." This phrase is repeated more times than I can count actually and when God thinks it's important to repeat something, then I think it's important for us to know why. The answer seems simple and I'm sure you're all thinking "it's because He's the only one who can satisfy our hearts". Bingo! If that's what you're thinking then, I think we are on the same page, but let's stop for a minute and think about what that REALLY means. From the very beginning we see that we were fashioned for relationship...that was exactly what he created us for. His perfect design was for a perfect relationship with us and so He created Adam. Upon seeing the perfection of His garden and all the delights of His works, He then said "it is not good for man to be alone". This has always stumped me because Adam was NOT alone...He was walking in a perfect world with the God who created Him not to mention the host of angels all around! But God in His infinite wisdom saw the bigger picture and chose to create human relationships to glorify Himself, so Eve is created out of Adam. Now we have the foundation of human relationships as between a man and a woman. History attests to the fall of man as Eve chooses to sin and Adam follows likewise. This friends was the end of perfect relationships and the beginning of God's redemptive plan. All through the Old Testament we see jealousy, hatred, adultery, unfaithfulness, wicked plans, and cruelty that humans rage against one another. Each of us have our own stories of the people that have wounded us both in words and actions. And sadly, people have stories of how we have wounded them as well. Fallen nature is cruel...counseling centers are full of people trying to overcome the horror of their childhood, marriage, families, and friends. These wounds are real and need to be dealt with so that the pattern can be stopped and restoration and healing found. But so often the people leaving the counseling sessions get into their cars and call a friend...who will inevitably let them down...or plan a date with their spouse...who will inevitably let them down. You see as long as we look to the people around us to fill the void of relationship, we will never leave the cycle of hurt and pain. And try as we might, it is just a reality that we will cause other people hurt and pain. By now I'm sure you're saying "I thought this was a HOPE blog!" And yes I am just as ready to give you the good news as you are to hear it.

Isaiah 49:15 says this "I will not forget you. Behold I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands" Let that verse sink into your soul...when your husband forgets an important date or refuses to understand where you're coming from, God says "I will not forget you". When your children forget all that you've done and demand only more from you, God says "I will not forget you". When your boss passes you up for promotion, God says "I will not forget you". When your friends forget to include you...again...God says "I will not forget you". And when life is great and you have forgotten about Him, God says still "I will not forget you". Why? Because He has inscribed you on the palms of His nail scarred hands. Friends when He lay on that cross and had nails driven into His hands, He had your face in His mind. He bled and He suffered and He died for YOU and because of the great love behind that great sacrifice, HE WILL NOT FORGET YOU. No person on earth, no relationship, no connection can promise this truth. Only a Sovereign and Perfect God could promise this and hold fast to it everyday. So I challenge you as I am challenging myself...STOP looking for people to fulfill what only God can fulfill. It is a burden that no human can bear and it is idolatry to give importance to anyone greater than God. Love those around you...serve those around you...encourage those around you...and cherish the people God has put into your life, but let us reserve our greatest love and all our needs for the ONLY One who can truly satisfy.