In HOPE

 

  In HOPE 9.2

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David Timms  

 

 

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Nice to be Back

Dear friends -- thanks for your prayers and encouragement as I completed the recent book. It's now with an editor at Bethany House. Sacred Waiting: Waiting on God in a World that Waits for Nothing is scheduled for release on September 1, 2009. Meanwhile, it's delightful to be back with you and sharing the Journey through "In HOPE." Thanks for receiving these reflections. I look forward to the rest of the year with you. Blessings.  -- DT 

 

Hope Happenings

Newsflash!! Recently the University has started negotiating with land developers in San Juan Capistrano (33 miles south of the current campus)  to build a new campus and relocate our operations in the next 3-4 years. This will greatly enhance the University's capacity to serve our students with new facilities, a great location (right near the coast), and cash resources to expand both our residential and online programs.

Hope International University
Fullerton  CA  92831

 


The Doorstep of Hell

Thomas Merton writes: “To consider persons and events and situations only in the light of their effect upon myself is to live on the doorstep of hell.” (No Man Is An Island, p.24) He’s right.

 

It’s so easy to look at ourselves in an economy that is reeling like a drunkard. Perhaps it’s a pay cut, a job loss, or financial hardship. It’s so easy to look at our own pain in a world filled with sickness, violence, and suffering. It’s so easy to look at our circumstances when we feel victimized by unfairness and injustice.

 

Yet, truthfully, to consider everything around us purely in light of its impact upon us is to descend into a level of self-centeredness and selfishness that not only distracts us from Christ but from real life itself.

 

The tragic irony of selfishness is that as we strive to care more for ourselves and protect our own interests we actually harm ourselves and lose what matters most.  The more the world revolves around us, the smaller we and the world become. As we hold increasingly tightly to our own lives, we inevitably find that we’re grasping nothing but air.

 

Life is not to be held tight but to be given. Similarly, we do not generate life but receive it from others.

 

Perhaps a meaningful definition of hell is “isolation from God and others.” For the independent atheist this may sound idyllic, but nothing drains and destroys us faster.

 

Whatever we’re facing in these tough times, will we descend into the abyss of selfishness or look at others around us? Will we pity ourselves or trust Christ? Will we wear the mantle of misery over personal loss or grieve the pain of others?

 

Merton does not call for a false Stoicism, as though we ought to put on a brave face no matter what. Rather he rephrases the immortal words of Jesus, “Whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it.” (Matthew 16:25) This latter loss is no accident but a carefully calculated choice.

 

When the wheels are loose—in our workplace, in our marriage, in our church, in our own life—let’s resolve not to shutter the windows but to open them; not to worry about our own interests but to minister to the hearts of others. In doing so, we may find that what looks like the doorstep of hell actually becomes a window to heaven.

 

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.