Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Joys of Hope

As Christians, we pick up our crosses and follow our Savior. And that often means suffering. 
I am naturally very naive, idealistic and positive. Almost every morning of my life, I wake up with happy expectations, a little tingle of excitement about what fun and adventure the day will bring. If there are a few thin clouds, I know the sun is always just about to burst out in my heart. My life is a musical, as I tend to have some beautiful song always playing in the background of my mind.

With great gratitude to God, I look at my life, for my life has been so, so easy and comfortable compared to others.

Yet there have been times when I have been given my dose of pain and tragedy. When all my human efforts, all the inspirational reading and praying and Bible study and worship and behaving righteously bring no relief from the despair.
When days of pain, turn into weeks of pain, then months and even years of confused suffering, one tends to loose hope. You search for God and He is not there where you can feel Him, either in your heart or soul or spirit. You feel abandon. 
The devil tries to convince you that your light of joy has been extinguished forevermore and you are trapped in a dark, hopeless prison.

At those moments, you may feel your only choice is to sin. God’s power to go on and fight the good fight has imploded inside you and you are left with what seems only bad choices for survival. Your flesh is weak from relentless torment and you cry out to God only to hear the echo of your voice dissipate into the cosmos without an answer.
Forgive me if this seems a trite statement but what I wish to say to you is, do not sin. It will only make things vastly more complicated when the temporary comfort it brings is gone.

No matter what you are going through, though it may seem the very depths of hell, the valley of the shadow of death, do no evil. Defy the abyss Satan is wanting to throw you in, hang on with the words, “though He slay me, yet will I serve Him.” Never, ever give up hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how dark it may seem.  Giving into the temptation to sin will only prolong the struggle.

God’s grace is sufficient. Hold on to that hope though the battle be fierce within your soul. Though the temptation feels overpowering, fall to your knees each time and behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. The cross you carry following Christ is leading you to a place where you too will suffer and die. You too may sear with the agony of temptation until you have sweat blood. Where did you think that cross you were carrying was taking you? Not to a comfortable easy chair and refreshments. The eternal promise of God's Faith, Hope and Love do not come with the promise of tranquil cosiness. We are in a battle.  

But fear not, for God is with you. He will uphold you with His victorious right hand.

You will survive the pain, the temptation, the despair if you drop to your knees and suffer with Christ at your side. Pour out to Him, offer to Him the desire, the temptation to do evil. Earth’s purgatory lasts only a while and then, you will taste heaven.

Cling to hope, cling with faith when Satan’s vast army appears over the horizon. Don’t give up, you cannot see it yet, but as a Christian, there is a vast host of heaven behind you. Do not think a little sin will not hurt you and others. Do not be deceived that you must sin, it is your nature.
If the future could open up in front of your eyes, you would never make the choice to sin, no matter how strong and torturous the temptation.    

God’s grace is there for you. It is power. 
It is HIS sword He will give you. Stand and fight. For YOU MATTER!! You are an everlasting soul with great significance. Your tears, your heartbreaks fill heaven. Your battles, your failures and successes are watched with loving and merciful wonder. Heaven is FOR YOU, because God so loved you that He sent His only Son to hang on for you.

Never, never ever lose hope. The light is there, believe.

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