In HOPE
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David Timms 

Issue 5.12

Ministry Resource

Are you aware of Richard Foster's Steams of Living Water (1998, 448pp)? This text builds on his much earlier Devotional Classics (1990) and gives further instruction in the six streams of Christian spirituality as Foster defines them. Foster has become a pre-eminent spiritual guide for many of us, and this book is another mile-marker.

HOPE Happenings

This Saturday evening - April 30th - the Korean Master of Church Music students will perform a concert here on campus at 7pm. The event will include 4 choirs and a range of individual performances, all under the title "Embracing the Grace." Our Korean students in the Master's program are simply outstanding.

 

Torn Veils

None of us likes physical pain. Burns, bruises, abrasions, and breaks all hurt. But the agony of failure and the ache of opposition affects us far more deeply. Fractured friendships, fading dreams, and scuttled hopes quench our spirit in ways that flesh wounds can't. A broken limb may be more welcome than a broken heart .

 

Yet, eventually, all of us walk the path of the deeply wounded .

 

We assume that everyone will like us, agree with us, and support us. But reality quickly dispels this idealism. We don't travel far before experiencing a clash of personality, values, style, or vision. Well-meaning mentors urge caring people to develop "thick skin" but such an action (if possible) merely paralyzes the pastoral heart. The solution to our woundedness is not denial or gritted determination but stillness and attentiveness to God Himself .

 

The Bible affirms that the Lord "gives a garland to replace ashes, and the oil of gladness instead of mourning" (Isa 61.3). The darkness makes the Light shine even brighter. Indeed, our most profound experiences of Him are born in grief not comfort .

 

C.H. Spurgeon once noted that the tearing of the Temple veil when Christ died (Matt 27.51), revealed God to the world as He'd never been seen before. The rip produced unprecedented revelation. In similar fashion, we often encounter Him in the deepest and freshest ways when our lives are rent asunder .

 

If our comfort blinds us to His glorious and gracious presence, might we not - strangely enough - rejoice when the pain is acute. Suffering is not our enemy. And the fellowship of suffering is not just a morbid delight that others are struggling too. This sweet fellowship emerges from the recognition that a sunrise follows the darkness. But even more powerfully, He reveals Himself more fully in our deepest brokenness. In an intensely personal way, the rip produces unprecedented revelation, again.

 

The prevailing desire of our day is pain management or pain avoidance. For many of us, neither option may prove possible or ultimately healthy. Conflict with others, failures of our own, hardships in the home, and heartaches from unraveling hopes are very real. Perhaps we can neither manage nor avoid these experiences, despite our best efforts. But we can encounter His presence and in our torn lives discover His fullness as never before.

 

The tearing of our veils grieves us. We want glorious tapestries, not frayed threads. But dashed security and broken dreams can be the pathway to the Holy of Holies - a place we have never visited before. Until the veil is torn - veils of ambition, self-sufficiency, greed, independence, and pride, to name just a few - the fuller revelation of God remains hidden .

 

Our anguish can become our access, if we are still and attentive . 

 

In HOPE -

Hope International University
Fullerton, CA 92831

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David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and his views are not necessarily those of the administrators or Board of the institution. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.

For back issues of In HOPE, see http://www.hiu.edu/inhope/