Monday, July 27, 2015

hope should consume us

This past week I had the honor of visiting our nation's capitol of Washington D.C.. With as many memories made and lessons taught, I had to share a few. I went to a conference known as Student Leadership University. This second level of the program edifies the students of leadership skills, along with a rich history of the United States.
I went into this program unsure of what would occur. Last year, this past summer, I did not know what I was getting in to. The day before my group left to go to Orlando to experience the first level of this leadership conference (101), I decided to join them. The DAY BEFORE they left. I never make decisions like this, please know that. Yet the undeniable experience of a enriched craving for skills that exemplify Jesus was always there at the conference. We were taught time management skills, how we personally interact with others, and truth that comes straight from God. That "yes" from my parents was the sovereignty of God playing out and shaping my future. Not only, that year, did I learn a lot about the people around me, but I learned how to dream. We were taught to think of a dream that we had, something that if we knew we would never fail at, we would accomplish it. That dream is being shaped and molded to this day. With anticipation I wait to see what it fully is and how God will use it.
This year, a new thread of my heart and mind was built. All my life I have said the pledge. All my life I had been taught that America is great and beautiful. Let me start by saying that before I went to the conference, I couldn't wait to leave America. I didn't hate it, but for years I have hoped for an escape. Especially since I experienced my last international mission trip, I've looked forward to nothing less than to go to a foreign country. There was a Supreme Court Justice ruling recently that drained my love for this country. The adversity towards Christianity and the disregard for scared things such as human life and liberties hardened my heart. I have become a victim of bitterness with regard to leadership in this country. All I saw was a spot of land that denied God and life to the full. What I was fully ignoring was what Christ assures us of. "Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" is what Paul writes in Romans 5.
With this in mind, let Jesus assure you that there is hope in the smallest and largest of tragedies. We all listen to someone or something. The voice that you listen to is the one you belong to, and although there are countless voices on earth, there are two that fight for our attention. One of fear and depravity and the other of rest and hope. Our prayer every day should be one of trust. Perseverance is the key of all progression. We know our troubles may not be gone tomorrow, but we know that God will overcome this life through our faith. There is an old, African proverb that says, "The fist is not big enough to block out the sky." This plainly means that hope and what we have on the horizon is always bigger than the ugliness of violence and corruption we see daily. Though the struggle and hardships around us may seem close to our face and terrify us, it's not bigger than what's beyond it.
In D.C., this was the theme of the week in my personal dialogue. Knowing that right now, there is the love of God in this nation was astonishing to me. Why do we so often think that? It's because we confine God. We limit Him with how we view things. We see the unpleasant and we assume that it won't get better. This discouragement ties people down and makes people slaves to distrust.
As believers, we should allow the opposite to reign in our lives. Hope and encouragement is what sets us apart from any other religion. Having the anointed position of being encouragers, we are called to remind ourselves of the triumph in the Lord. When you are an encourager, your point of view is eternity-minded. You are beautifully crushed and fully abandoned when you have hope. That is how we are to live every day. With the hope we have, we see with new eyes. Those new eyes shine with promise and joy for the days to come.
With this in mind, let Him assure you that there is nothing in this life that can damage your prize of hope in Jesus Christ. No wavering thing the earth offers in the form of evil wins against the rule of a good Father with almighty power.
I believe that everyday is a new invitation to come to the Father with childlike faith and trust Him with all the pieces of our lives. I have come to see Him as the patient de-puzzler of my mind and heart. Next time you watch the news, keep this in mind: the world is not too much for Him. Let go of fear, let Him love you freely and lead you as a kind Father. 

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