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Everything Begins and Ends with HOPE
Everything begins and ends with HOPE.
We experience much, but the only thing which we actually possess is hope. We come from internal darkness, through external struggle, to spiritual light. We have a glimmer of hope, stuff happens, then we must reclaim our hope in order to keep going.
1. The internal at work, warring against hope. We start with hope, but fall into melancholy. This breeds anxiety. Its because we have internal sensitivity to external conditions. The solution is hope.
2. We need hope. But sometimes hope seems so distant, so fleeting, it feels like we're falling, released from God's hand, if you will. It feels like we fall until we are shattered. Even so, there's still hope.
3. When we hit bottom, when hope is all there is, we start groping, seeking, and from that is born questions and questing and, yes, wondering. It breathes new life into our frail hope.
4. In this stanza we go from a passive voice to an active voice. This is deliberate. Where we were "ing" before - struggling, now we are doing something about it. We have a sense of determination now whereas in the previous verse we were casting about for something to lay our hope upon.
5. Phil 2:12 says we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Paul often speaks of it as a race with a great prize. In Mt 11:12 Jesus speaks about heaven being taken by violence. We must fight for the prize. The prize is eternal life. The hope is for victory. We have hope because we have a saving relationship with one who waged war against death and conquered it, making victory possible for himself and by grace sharing that victory with his saints.
6. The enemy uses any weapon he can against us. Whether literally a bullet, such as Columbine or VA Tech, or a metaphoric bullet of temptation and guilt and lies, our enemy wants to see us die. Paul referred to flaming darts (Eph 6:16). I used bullets as the modern vernacular. In another sense, if we examine it in context with the previous verse, the bullets also represent the fight with our enemy. We fight with a purpose and our purpose is our hope. Both meanings are valid in my mind. The gauze represents healing. We are now actively battling the devil with a purpose. Sometimes we take a hit, or someone around us takes a hit, but as the old song goes there's a balm in Gilead. The cross is a blatant reference to remove any ambiguity about the source of the healing. It is the source of gauze, which is to say healing, in all realms.
7. Hope is ours in the physical world we now suffer (body). Hope is something we hold with mental clarity and certainty (mind). I believe faith is not blind, but the extension beyond what we are certain of by common knowledge into what we are certain of by faith. Ultimately hope goes beyond the worldly and the mental exercise to a spiritual reality. This is the kingdom of heaven where the Temple of God stands with the river of life and trees of life and the mansion of many rooms our Lord is preparing for his saints. We have hope for a revived spiritual body unlike this world, where we enjoy eternal life without mourning.
8. Hope defies the fires of hell. Hope is in a God who has power over that fire. His Holy Spirit moves with "fire". He consumes the chaff and purifies like silver. God is light. In Him is no shadow of variation due to change. In the New Jerusalem will be no darkness, no more night. All will live in the daylight provided by the local presence of our living Lord. The water does not quench the light or the fire. Rather, the water is the multitude of people. It is the river of life which pours out from the Temple of God. It is that which, when we drink of it, we thirst nevermore. This is the culmination of our hope - to be satisfied in our being in the presence of God who has absolute dominion with and over fire of the spirit as well as all consuming fire which obliterates all that opposes our hope. At last, receiving our satisfaction (water), we realize our hope. It is the baptism (water) with the spirit (fire) which reveals God (light) to secure our eternal hope.
Motivation... As for what motivated this work, I was listening to particularly powerful compilations from my Battlestar CD. It is deeply emotional. It is a story of being dropped from grace, grasping at hope when nothing else was left, and searching for salvation. While the allegory might be a bit loose, the emotions transcend the details of the plot. Everything begins and ends with hope, regardless of all the battles in between.
Article submitted Sunday, August 01, 2010 & read 79 times.
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