In HOPE

 

 

 

  In HOPE 9.18

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David Timms  

 

 

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 Prayer for Today

Father, help me to see beyond the hurt and the harm, to You. Amidst the world's pain and brokenness, remind me of the abundance of eternity. I rest in You for now. I wait on Your grace to suffice for my longings. Grant me faith and endurance for the Journey today. Amen.

Scripture 

"We know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body."  (Romans 8:22-23)

 

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“We must leave a place for incompleteness, hunger and longing in the Christian life."  ~ Cameron Lee, Unexpected Blessing , p.109

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Incomplete Abundance 

Jesus promised that we'd have life "and have it abundantly" (John 10:10; NIV) but it sure doesn't feel that way at times.

New waves of fear and anxiety wash over us unexpectedly. Our tongues speak criticism and poison before we can catch ourselves. Sickness and injury plague us and distress us. Violence surrounds us and springs from us. Anger explodes. Wounds re-open. Pain persists. Even as we follow Jesus.

Abundant life?

Surely only the healthy, the affluent, and the secure could affirm such a lofty and surreal promise. Meanwhile, the rest of us groan under the weight of reality.

Cameron Lee writes, "The apostle Paul shows us another side, one that is seldom discussed in church. This side of heaven, the Christian life is characterized by unfulfilled longing, a spiritual groaning for things that will be but have not yet come to pass. All of creation groans together, waiting for God to finish the work he began in Jesus."

But couldn't it be different?

What of health, wealth, and happiness? What about joy, peace, and abundance? What about power, success, and influence?

Should the followers of Jesus die anonymously, painfully, and in poverty? Isn't it the Father's "job" to deliver us from all of that? Isn't that why we signed on?

Abundant life?

How natural it is to desire wholeness for brokenness, healing for sickness, abundance for poverty, and peace for conflict. But we dare not distort the gospel into a vehicle for escapism. Christ did not die on the Cross to place us in a bubble. He did not endure humiliation to spare us the same. Instead, the suffering of Jesus -- experienced in every life since Calvary -- leads us to eternal resurrection.

Our abundance is incomplete, and will be until the day of Christ Jesus when sin is defeated and death is conquered once for all. The Psalmist cried out repeatedly, "How long, O Lord?" and we still hear the same answer, "For now but not forever." Meanwhile, His grace and His Presence responds to our groaning and grants us strength for adversity and hope for eternity.

In HOPE –

David

 

 

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You can find back issues of "In HOPE" (2005-2009) at http://www.hiu.edu/inhope/ .

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 the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.