And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
~ 1 Peter 5:10
I'm not sure what it was that caused me to awake from my sleep, but it was like someone had prompted me and spoke my name. It's not uncommon for me to wake up, with something on my mind in the middle of the night, then try to go back to sleep, but subconsciously, I'm trying to think of a solution to whatever disturbed my slumber.
I often wonder of the things that kept Jesus awake at night. Looking at those who had decided to follow him, with a simple invitation, as they slept. What did he hope for them? Maybe watching, as the family hosting the group, worked through the night to ensure that hospitality would continue the next day, as they gathered food and prepared breakfast. Did he lay there, thinking of those who would come to him, asking for healing, and what the response would be? What did he hope for the coming day?
How does God determine the outcome, when we ourselves can be so fickle in our needs and wants?
As I formulate options and rethink actions, I suddenly realize that I am forgetting the greatest gift that I still possess. And that is hope.
Hope is something that we all know about. It is something that we discover early in life. We hope that a favorite playmate will come over. We hope that mom cooks our favorite food, and that dad takes us to a place that we love. We hope in simple things, and the impossible as well.
I try not to forget that hope is also about dreams and vision. It is what makes it possible to for the poor person living on the street, imagine life living with a roof above his head. The patient in the doctor's office hopes to hear the words, "You are cured." And the safe arrival of friends and family, when the storm has swallowed the roads with water leading home, are just among a few things hoped for.
Our hope can always be found in Christ. God does not sit back, waiting to destroy the things that we hope for. If anything, God is hoping that we will share and ask about the things that cause us to lay awake at night and think.
Years ago while helping in a food pantry we had just handed out the last package of hamburger meat, and the line still continued out the door. As those of us looked at one another, realizing the rest of the families that day would not receive any meat at all, there came a knock on the door. As we opened the door, a man had an entire pickup full of frozen meat that he had just picked up from the store. "I just sensed that you might need this donation today."
I remember looking at all the other volunteers and commenting, "God just always seems to be right on time."
Hope must always be met with gratitude. Having hope means that we acknowledge when the blessing has been met. Why should we hope in anything, if we don't take the time to give thanks?
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2019
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.