I Can Tell You of Hope

 

forest-sunrise-1425966-mNote: I posted this on my personal Facebook page earlier in the week and felt it was worth reposting on my blog.

Heavy week. Violence in Baltimore. Marriage debate before the Supreme Court. Natural disaster in Nepal.

All of it seems way above my pay grade, way beyond my capacity to fix or fully comprehend.

That’s why it matters today that God is present, even in the darkest corners of a broken world (Psalm 139).

That’s why it matters today that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, that God’s own Beloved Son made a home among rebels like us (John 1:14). He came because He even loves people I don’t like or understand. He came because He even loves me.

That’s why it matters that the Son who is full of grace and truth humbled Himself to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil 2:5-11).

That’s why it matters that the same Son rose from the grave three days later, vanquishing death, conquering sin, and offering life to all who trust Him (1 Cor 15).

That’s why it matters that His Spirit is here, right in the midst of suffering, right in the midst of pain, whispering to a broken world, “God loves you” (Rom 8).

That’s why it matters that Jesus is coming back, not only to join our world this time, but to fix it once for all. No more pain. No more tears. No more death or sin or violence or disaster. No more death (Rev 21:4).

I can no more fix the world than I can raise the dead, but I know Somebody who can do both. So what can I do? I can grieve. I can pray. I can try to understand. I can help others with the limited resources God has given me. I can look with hope toward the day of final redemption and pray, “Come, Lord Jesus.”

And I can tell you about the hope found in Jesus, praying you’ll come to know it deeply, through the Spirit of the One who loves Baltimore, Nepal, and even Washington, D.C. He loves His world, and He loves you too.

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Even the Wisest Person

1024px-Jugement_de_Salomon_3,_vitrail_roman,_Cathédrale_de_StrasbourgReDiscovered Word

(1 Kings 11, Proverbs 2)

Even the wisest person can become a fool.

Solomon’s wisdom was vast, but he forgot its Source. He amassed wisdom and wealth and honor, but at some point he started to turn away from the God who gave him it all to him.

His wisdom made him powerful, but his power made him arrogant. He collected wives and concubines and they led him far away from the Lord. Their idolatry crept into his heart and then into the entire nation of Israel.

Solomon’s divided heart eventually resulted in a divided kingdom. Years of war, years of loss, years of idolatry. The wisest man in history made a series of foolish choices, and his nation paid a terrible price.

Wisdom is not a permanent acquisition. It has to be cared for and cultivated or it will fade away. A wise young man might become a foolish old man if he doesn’t pay close attention to his heart.

You and I are always headed toward wisdom or headed toward foolishness. Our paths are largely determined by how well we remember the One who gives wisdom and how faithfully we listen to his Word.

Wisdom shouts in the street and lifts her voice in the square. Wisdom instructs the simple and enlightens the wise. But wisdom only does its work in those who will listen.

When Solomon stopped listening, his wisdom faded. The same can happen to you and me. Or we can pay attention to our hearts and heed the God of wisdom. He loves to give wisdom, and He gives it to young and old alike. But you have to listen.

Even the wisest person can become a fool. But even the foolish can become wise when they hear the voice of wisdom’s Maker.

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The Tomb is Empty, Our Hope is Full

Garden TombThe tomb is empty.

Our hope is full.

The Resurrection and the Life died a criminal’s death, broken and defeated. He lay three days in a rich man’s grave.

The women, his friends, came to honor Him and to anoint His body. They came to remember the man they loved. But He was gone. In place of His dead body they found two angels, shining and bright and alive.

“Why do you seek the living among dead? He is not here. He is risen.”

The angel’s statement was shocking, but they knew it was true. They knew in their soul that Jesus could not die forever. As soon as they heard the news, they ran to tell the disciples.

He’s alive!

The tomb is empty.

Our hope is full.

The disciples could not believe it at first, but once they did, everything changed. They ran to tell their friends, to tell their enemies, to tell the world. The word spread among the Jews, the Greeks, and the pagans. Death was defeated and life had come.

For years to come, for hundreds and thousands of years to come, death would stalk God’s people. But death would never have the sting it used to.

When Jesus broke out of that tomb, death itself was broken. It wasn’t only the stone He rolled away. He also rolled away the hopelessness of those who dwell in the shadow of death, yet who long for eternal life.

When we shout, “He is risen,” we also shout our own resurrection.

“I am the Resurrection and the Life,” he said. “He who believes in me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”

Because He rose, we will rise. Death cannot claim forever those whose hearts are attached to His.

Jesus destroyed our great enemy when He burst out of the tomb early one Sunday morning. And now the one who believes will live to see the day when death is forever undone, and those who sleep in their graves will emerge into the shining light of the Author of life.

The tomb is empty.

Our hope is full.

Death is defeated.

Life is victorious.

Jesus is risen.

He is risen indeed.

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