Friday, November 26, 2010

Overflowing with Hope

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. There were seven of us around the table. We ranged in age from thirty-three years old to ninety-four years old. We all have a lot to be thankful for. Good health is by far the greatest blessing of all, and we're all in reasonably good health. We all have a steady income that pays the bills, and that's truly a blessing in these troubled times.

In spite of these blessings, it wasn't long before our after-dinner conversation turned to what's wrong with the world. Our country is fighting two wars and - judging by the current news - could be drawn into a third war if North Korea keeps acting up. We talked about the declining dollar, the volatile stock market, the eroding of personal liberty - new airport security procedures being the latest example. We talked about how civilizations throughout history have all eventually failed, and how ours will no doubt fail sooner or later. Will it happen all of a sudden, or will it happen gradually so that we have time to adjust and prepare? How do you prepare for such a thing? Is it even possible to prepare for it? I don't know about everybody else, but I got up from the table feeling a little bit uneasy.

I had a sleepless spell during the middle of last night and found myself replaying our dinner table conversation. My uneasiness turned to remorse. Why didn't I inject some hope and optimism into that conversation? Surely that should be the role of the elder members of a family - putting things in perspective and sharing hope for the future with the younger ones who will still be here after we, the elders, have exited the stage of life. Christians, of all people, have reason to hope.  Why did I fail to offer some hope for the future? All I could do as I lay in bed pondering all this was to confess my weakness to God, ask for forgiveness and the strength and wisdom to do better.

Most mornings at about ten o'clock, I'm sitting at the dining room table with the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. This morning, as usual, I turned to the Daily Office Lectionary in the back of the prayer book to see the Bible readings for today. When I turned to the reading in Romans, I was amazed - not for the first time - at how the Bible speaks to our needs. It so often tells me what I need to hear when I need to hear it.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

That's the wonderful thing about God - he's not stingy! He wants us to "overflow with hope." I like the idea of overflowing with hope. I'm not proud to admit that my hope is sometimes so puny that it just barely keeps me hanging on by the skin of my teeth. But I don't believe  puny hope comes from the Holy Spirit. Puny hope is just me, trying to prop myself up and not doing a very good job of it. I think I'm going to give up my puny hope and trust God for that overflowing hope that comes from the power of the Holy Spirit - hope that will overflow to the younger members of my family - including the new grandbaby who is on the way and will be at the table with us next Thanksgiving.


Carolyn said...

God wants His children to overflow, in all things, Hope and Joy just being two of them. Thank you for that wonderful message ... we can name all the earthly things we are thankful for, and yet we always forget somehow to be thankful for a God that we cannot out-give in anything....Love, Peace, Hope, Joy, Comfort, Eternal Life and so many more. Your new grandbaby is a promise of joy and peace and hope, as the circle of Life goes on from year to year.

margie said...

Hi Judith-I just became a "blogged" blogger and found your blog when I typed HOPE in the search window. Your comments are so transparent with depth and I am ALL about that!
You are so right regarding the Holy Spirit; He is our Comforter and I love that one of the ways He comforts me is reminding me of my ABUNDANT blessings and to say them aloud. Any clouds that try to hover vanish and my spirit is lifted in humbled thanks. Thank you for a wonderful post!

Judith B. Landry said...

Carolyn and Margie - Thanks so much for your comments!