HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF: I learned how to stay in hope! Best decision ever to work for Igniting Hope Ministries and have this fruit of the Spirit engrained into my being. I’m committed to hope and sort of a prisoner to it. It’s impossible for me at times to see a negative outcome. It’s not an optional fruit of the Spirit, and it’s no longer a fragile fruit of the spirit in my life.
Before this awakening, my mind, being rooted and grounded in experience, suffered faith concussions at the blow of negative experiences. I would forget that God was good or powerful, wonder where I was and why (what’s my purpose), and have to move slowly through situations in fear and distrust.
Hope was a scarce commodity, because “comfortable scenarios” was the only currency I knew that would get me more. And those were hard to come by.
The journey away from this way of life included dealing with past disappointments, renewing my mind with truth (Romans 12:2), and encountering God Himself. The journey healed past wounds, filled me with joy, and gave me something to hope in.
History happened in the US today, and it’s not a “comfortable scenario” for most Western Christians. We look to each other for wisdom but catches glimpses of other believers with their fists raised in anger or equivalently as confused as the world. These result in more “uncomfortable scenarios” and more hopelessness.
I believe our biggest battle today is to get ourselves into hope and stay in hope. He who has the most hope has the most influence (Steve Backlund).
Hope doesn’t box people into their past, and doesn’t shape the future of America based on the present. Hope sees the light of God invading spaces and changing everything. Hope doesn’t assume that we’re playing with the most visible and talked about deck of cards, but expects the hand of God to trump the entire deck. Hope is a confident expectatation of good in the future based on the goodness and promises of God (Steve Backlund).
One of my friends went through an operation to turn from a woman to a man a few years ago. I was a student in the school of ministry when she called to talk about it, and as soon as I got off the phone, I was sad. It was a sort of overwhelming sad that I went to my room to figure out with Jesus what was going on.
I went in my room and shut the door and posed the question with my silence, “Heart, what’s wrong.”
God instantly identified that I wasn’t just feeling sad, but hopeless. He said to me, “You don’t think that I’m bigger than her decision.”
“You think she can do something that would make it impossible for me to reach her. That’s not true. No matter what she does, I can reach her. I’m always close to her. The issue is the heart, it’s always been the heart. Your focus is her heart. Even if she changes her gender, your focus must still be the heart.”
I instantly had visions of the Lord’s healing power on a person’s life. I envisioned individuals walking into the healing rooms of Bethel and their bodies being instantly transformed and their hearts being healed.
I almost laughed out loud; I became so filled with hope. I almost called into the atmosphere as if to her, “Try to run far from God. Try to become “unreachable.” His redemption story on your life will be incredible when He captures your heart!”
In hope today, an image of my future kids came to my mind. They were asking me, “Mom, why did America spend so much time in your late 20’s talking about if men could marry men?? They don’t even want to!”
Hope sees a different reality before it is a reality and paves the way for it to happen through our belief and prayers.
One of my favorite Christian authors and speakers, who is not scared to ruffle feathers, posted today on Instagram: “Don’t separate what God intended to be family.” The comments strung on with “#vague” demanding an answer from him.
- Yesterday this phrase “Don’t separate what God intended to be family” could have gotten likes, and disinterested scroll throughs.
- Two weeks ago, this phrase “Don’t separate what God intended to be family” could have been taken as some racial reconciliation effort.
- Today, comments of men, women, and marriage littered the page.
Not only did people feel the permission to post their opinions in this conversation, but they demanded him to join the conversation and give answers.
This man has He spent time with the Lord, yet His expression of that was just demanded to be less #vague in a conversation he wasn’t even having.
My main motivator for writing this is not to defend the author; it’s because I love the church. God’s emotions are many today (including absolute delight in you), but the only thing I feel he is not doing is throwing up his fists demanding an answer from every public figure about one conversation.
I’m not saying to stop throwing your fists at him (or others) because “everything is alright in the world.” I’m saying to stop throwing your fists, because God’s not doing it, and to be so constantly in defense mode looking for who you disagree with is bad for your health. And your health directly impacts mine, because we are one body, so stop it.
Where’s the pain?
What startles me most is how quick we are to fight, thinking that every comment on a day like today is a direct cut to my value system.
What startles me most is not that the law passed today, but that the hearts of men desired it in the first place, and that the conversation even got this far in our system.
The issue is not that we don’t have “holy” opinions, but that all the church has had are opinions.
It startles me that next week, another topic is going to roll around the news, stealing our attention, potentially before anyone cares long enough to do something in their sphere of influence.
What startles me is not that the rest of the world is happy today, but that Christians can’t find a reason to be.
Rejoice always, I will say again rejoice (Phil. 4:4).
I’ll say it again.
Rejoice (Phil. 4:4).
In the situation? Of course not. It’s to be grieved, certainly.
However, we still have a God who saves, who saved us, and who is still saving people.
Prepare for hope:
The implications of this action influence education and society in a way that will force all of us to live with greater conviction than ever before. It’s a good time to prepare your own value system and non-negotiables for that.
Do me, and the body, a favor –
Before you are hit with the more news, take a moment to posture your heart for hope and don’t let your faith go concussed, wandering about in fear and confusion:
- Your life and the world will be impacted more by the posture you choose in response to the situation than it will be the situation.
- What you believe about this ruling will impact your ability to love your neighbor more than the ruling will.
- What you assume everyone is talking about will shape the direction of your conversations more than the people you’re talking to.
- God is bigger. Always.
God’s love wins. Not because it numbs us into tolerance, but because it frees us from fear, and empowers us to live authentically.
Click here to read my guest post on Igniting Hope Ministries called “How to Stay Hopeless.”