A Living Hope

I feel like when I see a new idea, I have to let it “sit” a while and percolate. It’s not really a conscious thing, it’s just the way I see the process works for me. Then after some time, once I get a good feel & sense for what the idea means, I feel it begins to “find its place.” Afterwards, I feel free to give other previously held ideas better attention, or even greater importance again. It’s like the focus takes front and center while I figure it out, and then everything goes back to normal again afterward. I felt like this after discovering the idea of The True Father via George MacDonald. This idea was so beautiful and earthshaking for me, that it seemed like the idea of Jesus – which had previously been so large & predominant in my mind and heart ­– suddenly diminished and took a back seat. I didn’t know what to do with Jesus for a minute, now I knew I had a Father. My heart and soul were filled with it. It was so liberating to discover that God loved us himself, because he created us and we are his children. And that we are not just loved or saved or adopted “for the sake of the one who was perfect.” Even though that was wonderful enough in the absence of anything else, once the truth came out, it felt like the foundations of my whole world shifted.  But there was a quiet little voice, like the voice of conscience, reminding me that perhaps there was something missing… Was I ignoring or forgetting Jesus? What was I to make of The Son, now I had a Father? I still loved Jesus, of course. I had known him so long – had walked with him so many miles. Even way back, when I was questioning my faith, Jesus was the deciding factor. I didn’t know what to make of Christianity, but I felt like there must be a God. And when I came to Jesus, my heart knew that he, at least, was real. There had been too many signs, and answers to prayer to deny him now. So I thought about it and prayed some more, and I was reminded that it was through him that the world, and we ourselves, were created. I went back to John 1.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God. The Word was with God in the beginning. All things were created by him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind.

John 1:1-4, NET

Jesus was a central part of the whole process of our creation, for a very good reason, we were not even created by God by alone. It is so interesting for me to observe how God does things – he is not a “rock star.” He doesn’t care about doing things on his own, he is always bringing others into the picture; I feel like I can see this in the way he made family and life on this earth work. There are no individuals; we are always being called to unity, and to join together with others; to be a body. So Jesus is the one that comes down to us – not alone, or representing his own interests; he comes from the father. But Jesus is the one we meet first, and love first. And that is right, I think, because we have not yet seen the Father. Jesus is the one we encounter in human flesh. And the word became flesh, and dwelt among us. Jesus is our life and our light. (That’s a whole other aspect.) But thinking about that somehow re-framed and settled things in my mind, and things made better sense afterward. Now I feel that Jesus has come back into a prominent position for me. It feels like I have come back around to where I was before, just on a new level; having gained deeper insight into the situation, and bearing a fuller concept in mind. This time around, my vision of God is much fuller and more beautiful, and he is a brighter part of the picture for me than he was before. I have not lost anything at all – in reality I have gained more value than I could appreciate before.

My husband was talking about going back to the new testament, to get a better and more primary or original picture of who Jesus is. This was a great reminder to me to get back to my basics as well. So when next I had a little quiet time, I prayed for guidance about what to read, and I thought of Peter. So I went to 1st. Peter 1. This part jumped off the page –

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, that is, into an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It is reserved in heaven for you, who by God’s power are protected through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. This brings you great joy, although you may have to suffer for a short time in various trials. Such trials show the proven character of your faith, which is much more valuable than gold – gold that is tested by fire, even though it is passing away – and will bring praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. You have not seen him, but you love him. You do not see him now but you believe in him, and so you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, because you are attaining the goal of your faith – the salvation of your souls.

1 Peter 1:1-9

It felt like such a joyful passage, without glossing over any of the difficulties: we may have to suffer for a time – through various trials. We will be tested with fire. And we do not see him. But Peter, beautifully, and so true-to-the-complexity-of-the-real, wraps it up in joy. He does not allow us to get too far away from remembering and keeping in sight what’s on the other side. That is golden, isn’t it – to remember the why? Helping us remember the good that is coming, and the attainment of our goals: the fulfillment of our faith, and the salvation of our souls. This is so good for me, because I always struggle with remembering the joy. I get so easily focused on the challenges and the difficulties, that I forget to look up. Is it just me? I loved this bit – “By his great mercy he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” He gave us birth into a living hope. Love that! That is what my heart needed to be reminded of.

It reminds me of coming into the life that is in Christ, and how all these aspects that Christianity talks about are living ideas and truths; not simply two dimensional, or black and white. Like faith and love. Being born into a living hope is not merely to be acquainted with hope, or to know about hope, or even to like the idea of hope. A living hope would be one that is evergreen and alive within us – continually bursting with blossoms, and bearing new fruit. A living hope is one that behaves as though it were alive. It is enduring, resilient, flexible to meet new challenges and situations; it is a hope that does not die. No matter what gets thrown at it, it has the ability to come up with new answers, to heal and renew itself, and it is a constant source of feeding and nourishment to our souls as well. It reminds me of something Ravi Zacharias said, about how the thing that Jesus came to do is to bring dead people to life. Problems, pain, and sorrows are wounds. And wounds, if not healed, will fester, rot, and lead to the death of the organic body. But he is come that we may have life, and have it more abundantly. He can heal every wound, soothe every pain, and make even what were supposed to be deaths and defeats turn into victories. This is how life wins, and becomes eternal; when it keeps resurrecting, and coming back. When it just won’t give up and die. You cannot stop it. It has the power to keep on living, and resurrecting through its various deaths, and so it is eternal. So it is with Jesus, and with God, the author – and finisher – of our life. There is nothing this world can throw at them that they cannot heal, fix, make right, and finally resurrect into life eternal. They win because they are simply not willing to lose. He is not willing that any should perish.

And so must we – if we are to become sons of God, and heirs with Christ. We also must become invincible, that we may enter into a life that does not die. If we are not there yet, then we must take comfort in our savior’s strength, which is sufficient for us, and in this living hope he is resurrecting us into. There must be nothing that this life and this world can throw at us, that we also cannot learn to overcome, heal, fix and resurrect, with the help of Jesus Christ our savior, and of God the Father, and of his Holy Spirit.

Father, we are certainly not there – yet. How can we do any of these beautiful and amazing things without you? We are tossed and turned with every wave, and our eyes falter, and fall away from you and your saving grace. And if we are not very careful, the waves can seem so real – so very threatening, and life ending. But there is a magic always whispering in the air, and those who are hungry, and are willing to ask, will find the answers they seek. Help us to keep on, by keeping on. To simply turn our eyes back to you, every time our sight is stolen away, and enticed away from our savior and our rock. Perhaps it is through the repeated trying that we will grow wings, and learn to fly. And you will lift us, and help us, and be there to encourage us with the whispers of your spirit; those little encouragements that bear secret significance and mean the world to our heart and soul. You will be our help in the time of need, if we will come to you. You have given us so much – yourself and your strength, with the promise of a beautiful and victorious end, and an undying hope to get us through. It is shiningly, and beautifully more than enough. The reward you offer is so beautiful; “an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading.” And that is to say, eternal. Thank you, dear Lord! You are the sunshine of our life, and you encourage us so!

 

~Beth 🌸

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Watergirl View All →

Just a little flower, turning her face to find the sun. I don’t always feel his rays on me, but when I do, the warmth and the feeling is simply wonderful, and I never want to be in the shadows again. Isn’t he lovely?

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