Monday, January 15, 2018

Monday, January 15, 2018

Romans 2:24-25

For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes* for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Saved by hope

Life-changing lessons must be relearned again and again. At least it seems so for me. And often, my teachers are those I go to help. They frequently turn the tables on me.

I recently visited a woman who has endured chronic, debilitating illness, physical and emotional suffering, and threats to her life from armed political forces which forced her to flee her country and come to the United States.

Middle aged, she may or may not ever walk well again. Debilitating medical conditions will be with her as long as she lives and will slowly strip of her of physical function during the next decades of her life.

But she is not worried about this. Nor does she seem to obsess about how much … or how slowly … she might improve through physical therapy.

I visited expecting we would discuss anxieties about the future or frustration over not yet being able to return home after surgery. But we spent almost no time on such things.

We talked about the future, of her hope to be useful, to teach others Spanish, her native tongue. We discussed her hope for her daughter and made plans to help those hopes happen, and finally we talked of her desire to give back to this country, knowing she will never be able to pay back as much as she’s received.

Her life and moods are controlled by her hope, not by her past or what she has lost. She is saved by hope. So are we.

Hope pulls us forward toward the goodness of what will yet come, of what we may yet give, of the joy that is yet to be.

Without this, we fall to the temptation, obsessing over what has been lost, or what might never be, or wallow in understandable sadness. It’s an obsession that sucks the joy and vitality from living.

I left her room realizing I forget to ask a question ... of myself and of those I serve: What are your hopes?

Hope saves us from ourselves, from obsession of what is lost, what we have suffered and the feelings of the moment. Hope opens our hearts to the future of what God will yet do in and through us.

Hope trusts the goodness of the One who gives us life each new morning. Hope says, “Yes, I’m on my way. God’s way for me. So let I be.”

Pr. David L. Miller