Saturday, August 15, 2015

God's Not Finished With Me Yet--The Power of Hope

I saw the power of hope this week.

It was a tough week for one of my kids. Seemed that every time I turned around, I was rebuking, scolding, and yes, I even yelled at her one evening. She was tangling with everyone; her jaw was stubbornly set in a 'so what' posture; her eyes blazed.

I truly have no idea what set her off. But I could see it was ruling her.

After three straight days of hauling her into the Crisis Room--I mean, study--hauling her into the study, she and I were both emotionally spent. So, after I triaged her to get littler ones put to bed, I took her--and my Bible--and headed out back for a little one on one time.

There was a particularly despairing moment when she put her head down on the table and sobbed. This girl needed some hope. She needed it desperately.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 
Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit from me. 
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit. 
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will be converted to You. (Psalm 51:10-13)

Do you know who wrote this? I asked.
No, she didn't.
King David. Do you know who he is?
Yes, she did.
And do you know that while he was a man after God's own heart, he sinned grievously?
Her eyes were focused. I had her full attention now.

That evening, sitting in the back yard, my little 8 yr old heard the story of David, and his sin against Bathsheba, Uriah, and the Lord. It's safe to say, by the audible gasps, that she was fairly thunderstruck.

Do you know that God heard David's prayer that day? forgave him? restored him?
And do you know that David never failed to have a man sit on the throne of Israel? and that was God's promise to him?
She nodded in wonder. The light was going on...

There is a reason the writer of Hebrews refers to hope as the "Anchor of the Soul."
Without hope, our souls would drift like a ship lost at sea,
no particular direction, no particular destination.
But with hope...
With hope, our souls stay rooted, anchored to exactly the place we should be.
Hope gives us the energy to do the next thing.
Hope gives us courage to do hard things.
And hope has this amazing power to take our eyes off of ourselves and to fix them upon Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2)

Author AND Finisher.
God goes by lots of titles in the Bible.
But that one is my favorite.
He is the author of my faith.
He chose me. He raised me to life. He gave me the gift of repentance. He forgave me. He adopted me as his daughter.
He is the finisher of my faith.
He will not un-choose me, un-raise me, un-give to me, un-forgive me, un-adopt me. That would be the Un-Gospel.
He will sanctify me. He will conform me to His image. He will bring me to the Father.
And on that last day, He will save me.
He started this work. And He will finish what He started.

Between the beginning and the end...
it is hope that anchors me in the Now and the Not Yet.
It is hope that keeps my eyes on Him.
It is hope that keeps me from despair when I fail Him.
And when I fail Him again.
And again.
It is hope that makes me get to my feet, dust myself off, and get back in the race.
It is hope that brings me sleep at night.

So we sat there, the 8 yr old and I, in the backyard, and we prayed. We prayed for forgiveness. We asked God to do what we can't: to create a clean heart in us.

She came out to the meeting, a despondent, hopeless soul.
She left, laughing and light-hearted.
The joy of her salvation was restored.
THAT is the power of hope.

Create in me a clean, clean heart.
Create in me a work of art.
Create in me a miracle,
Something real, something beautiful.
God's not finished with me yet.
God's not finished with me yet.
By His help, I can change, I can change.
God's not finished with me yet.*

*(Rend Collective, 2014)