reflections from an elder - january 20th
Pastor Will’s second message is going to focus on the theme of Hope, and that got me to thinking about how casually we sometimes use that word. “I hope it doesn’t rain today.” Or, “I sure hope that test isn’t too hard.” Or maybe, “I hope the sermon doesn’t go too long this morning.” But the word hope means a whole lot more.
When the word cancer becomes a part of a family’s life, they do a lot of hoping. At times, it may be a real struggle not to lose hope. For some families, maybe the trial is something different, a struggling relationship, losing a job, the death of a close friend, but the hoping and praying that occurs is still very real. The greatest comfort in these kinds of earthly trials is knowing that our real hope, our ultimate hope, is not found within ourselves, but in the Lord. “The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” (Ps. 147:11) And, Hebrews 6:19 tells us that this kind of hope is “an anchor for the soul.” Believe me, in the stormy waves of our world, we need that anchor.
However, our hope in the Lord doesn’t necessarily make the trial go away, but it should give us a greater strength to endure it. The familiar line from Isaiah 40 reminds us that “those who have hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like eagles.”
So, as you lift up your prayers to our heavenly Father, lift them up with that kind of hope, a hope that trusts in a God who truly loves us, who sent his Son into this broken world to bear all of our burdens, to save us from all of our sins, and to give us an eternal hope, for now in this life, but also with Him in Glory. Don’t lose hope!
The Final Installment
Today is the final installment in my five-week series on the Lessons I Have Learned From Being a Rebel.
Lesson five has to do with rebels taking on a long-term view of change. In most places and with many people, change comes slowly. Even those changes that the rebel would count as critically important. Incremental change is still change! Rebels should tape that statement to the top of the computer screen to temper the fiery e-mail they are tempted to write/send when their proposed change isn’t embraced more enthusiastically.
In fact, incremental change (in most instances) is the best kind of change, because it mitigates against unintended consequences. It is difficult to anticipate how any proposed change will affect other behaviors. We may think we know, but we don’t. It is likely that sweeping change would create other challenges that the rebel never anticipated. Therefore,
Lesson FIVE – rebels learn to restrain their insistence on radical change. They see the benefits of incremental change, knowing that this kind of transformation is more manageable and effective.
Add this lesson to the previous ones, and you might just become the kind of rebel that does more than annoy people.
Lesson ONE – rebels who are remembered (for goodness sake), are not just against things as they are, they are diligently giving themselves to things as they should be.
Lesson TWO – the best rebels understand that respecting all people is fundamental in the pursuit of any goal, and under the Christian banner, love might even demand that we honor the “opposing” person over and above the cause.
Lesson THREE – a passionate rebel must be persistent in the cause and patient with the people who don’t feel it as deeply as the rebel does. The rebel still needs them. If you’re the rebel – don’t alienate people. Lead them.
Lesson FOUR – strategically, it is essential for rebels to authentically affirm what does not need changing before advocating for the things that do need changing.
~ Pastor Piet