12 August 2010

Meditation: "Choose Hope"

"Hope is willing to leave unanswered questions unanswered and unknown futures unknown. Hope makes you see God's guiding hand not only in the gentle and pleasant moments but also in the shadows of disappointment and darkness." --Henri J.M. Nouwen

"God alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken." --Psalm 62:2

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Dear Friends,

It is rough out there. Today I heard on the news that the number of people applying for jobless benefits is on the rise again and foreclosures are also higher than expected. The economic malaise that has gripped our country (and world) for the last couple of years continues to linger and cast its shadow. I also have been reading lately about how significant and inevitable the consequences of global climate change will be. Even if every nation stopped spewing CO2 into the environment tomorrow, it's not clear that we will avoid all of the negative consequences of global warming. And then I think about the number of people I know who have recently been diagnosed with serious illnesses, and if I were to dwell on it too long, I know I would easily get overwhelmed.

I'm not trying to drag you down! But I'm aware that these issues--that are so huge and out-of-control and difficult to address--feel quite weighty to me sometimes. I wonder what kind of world my children will inherit. I wonder if we human beings even have the wherewithal to make the changes necessary to avoid destroying ourselves.

For me, to avoid getting hopelessly entangled in all of this, I have to make a conscious choice, and that is to CHOOSE HOPE. Many people see hope as a naive wish that things would be different than they are. But the kind of hope that I seek is deeper than that. The hope I wish to embrace "is willing to," as Nouwen writes, "leave unanswered questions unanswered." The kind of hope that I find myself coming back to over and over again in times like these is the hope that God is indeed my rock and salvation, and that no matter what happens, God is all in all. These aren't platitudes to me, but rather sturdy anchor lines in a tumultuous world.

I hope and pray that, by God's grace, you will choose hope--and in so doing will find the courage to live each day in what is often a turbulent world.

Blessing on you,

Jeremy

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The Serenity Prayer (attributed to Reinhold Neibuhr)

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Amen.

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