Well, twenty -twenty certainly came in with a bang! Not the sort of bang I would have liked, but one of heartache, grief, disappointment and distress. I, as a mother, had to have conversations with my children and explain situations that I never imagined I’d have. My comfort in all this is that I know my boys have a Holy Spirit the same size as mine and that power will be working my words through and processing them appropriately in their child-size brains.
Amongst all the processing that I have done this week, I have had an overwhelming sense of God’s presence and also an underlying feeling of hope. I feel that what was intended to hurt and drive me away from the presence and goodness of God, has only caused me to seek his face more and to spend more time in prayer with the one who has all the answers. And a reminder that God is still very much on the throne.
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.”
Genesis 50:20 NLT
A friend from my Bible reading group was sharing with me what she had got from her daily reading, and one of the words she used was hope carriers. I immediately got the image in my mind of people pouring into church on Sunday carrying these large bright bundles of hope. They were wrapped in packages like you might see a thick fluffy jumper, parcelled with ribbon wrapped around it, but illuminated. And in this picture, I could see the non-hope carriers looking over in curiosity at this package, wondering what it was, wanting to know more about it, how they might go about getting it. It was a beautiful image.
Honestly, over the past ten days, although I have had an underlying sense of hope, I’m pretty sure that’s not what I’ve presented to the world. I know I’ve not been a hope carrier or a carrier of anything much of the spiritual gifts God has given me. It really got me thinking, am I ok with this?? Well, my conclusion was, NO I’m not ok with this. I realised that it was not the hope carriers what were affected by the brightness of what they carried but the ones around them that didn’t have the hope.
Likewise, if we were to display our spiritual gifts, and I say gifts which sometimes I believe can be confused with spiritual talents. I’m talking about the gifts that God puts in you that couldn’t be achieved by any human will, that hope, that peace, that joy, that faith, that courage, that confidence, that we have when faced with distressing circumstances. What if they were the visible packages that we carried for all to see or those who didn’t understand to get curious, for those who had lost them to seek their return, for those too young to comprehend to grow to seek after them?
What if, what we carry was the very thing that made people seek what we have? And that, of course, is the love and fellowship with our Father in heaven, the most high God. The gifts we carry, only received by those who sit in his presence under his teaching and direction.
What are you carrying that other people want? Is it bright and shiny? Does it bring light to darkness, will it bring hope to despair?
I don’t understand a lot of what is going on in the world. I don’t understand all the conflict, the tension, the division, the hatred. And the world around us gives us such cause to despair, but God gives us so much reason to hope. I saw this little story on social media throughout the week.
There was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.
Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young boy paused, looked up, and replied, “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves. When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”
The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”
The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”
It’s true we maybe can’t carry hope to the whole world. but we can most certainly carry hope to the ones around us!
Prayers of Peace & love
From T xx