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Daily Thought - "reassessing Hope In The Wake Of Hurricane Sandy"

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. – 1John 3: 18 (NLT)

    One of the greatest tricks the devil pulls on us is in convincing us that we will always have more time. That we live great long lives and that we can always tell the ones we love that we love them tomorrow. In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy I think a lot of us were lulled into thinking things weren’t that bad. Then the power came back on. Then the media came back online. Then the bodies started being discovered. Today the bodies of two children, ages 2 and 4 were finally discovered in the marsh at the coast of Staten Island. My heart breaks at the loss that cannot be explained. The type of loss that can drive people away from God when it should be the very thing that drives them into His arms. The pictures from the Jersey Shore, the south side of Staten Island and the Rockaways in Queens remind us of the awesome power of creation and the absolute fragility of human life. The truth is that it is not a long life we live here on earth and God has made that clear to us:

    How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. – James 4: 14 (NLT)

    But the enemy is relentless in convincing us to pursue other things in this life with the fervor we should pursue those that we love. In this country the pursuit of wealth and material satisfaction is promoted and valued above all else. Yet how many people do we see dying every year that achieved great material satisfaction only to live lives of quiet misery and stark loneliness? How many Whitney Houstons or Heath Ledgers do we have to see before we realize we are being sold a false bill of goods? The truth is that he who dies with the most toys is dead and as songwriter Don Henley once sang, “You don’t see no hearses with luggage racks.” Unfortunately, the church itself can play into this lie far too easily. Too many congregations led by people who are selling earthly prosperity instead of preaching eternal life. This constant push for something that you feel your life is lacking. Even when you attain it, you merely reset your goals on something else you do not have. God has warned us about this folly:

    Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless—like chasing the wind. – Ecclesiastes 6: 9 (NLT)

    Yet we do not enjoy what we have very well as people; Christian or not. We dream about the things we feel we are lacking and in our chasing of the wind we forsake what God has already given us too often. We can fall for the trap of taking for granted all that we have while we try and hunt down what we feel we deserve. God is the giver of every perfect gift beloved. When the Apostle Paul speaks about being able to do all things through Christ who strengthens him he was actually talking about being content in every situation in his life. He refers to it as a secret:

    I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ,who gives me strength. – Philippians 4: 12-13 (NLT)

    Paul did not measure his level of contentment based upon what he had. In reading his letters one can determine that he far more valued who he had. Read the epistles; the beginnings and the endings of them. See all the people he references with such great love. People he says he never stops praying for and thanking God for. People he mentions by name. The people who made up his life. This is what mattered to Paul as he pursued the calling God had on his life.

    Who mattered to Jesus Himself? Certainly the disciples but there were also His good friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus. I had written before about the shortest Bible verse – “Jesus wept.” This occurred when He first arrived in town after the death of Lazarus. I think it is too simplistic to assume Jesus wept because Lazarus was dead. Jesus knew Lazarus was dead and in fact specifically delayed His arrival so he would be dead; so that he could then be raised. Combine that with the fact that Jesus certainly knew He was about to raise Lazarus and I find it difficult to believe that He wept solely because Lazarus lay in a tomb. No beloved. I think Jesus wept because He saw the suffering of His close friends Mary and Martha, who threw themselves at His feet wailing in their grief. He was moved because these people mattered to Him and they were in pain.

    The truth is that all of the people Jesus ministered to mattered to Him. He cared deeply about everyone. When He looked out on the multitude He had compassion on them for they were like sheep without a Shepherd. When we look at His life and ministry we should realize that He is providing for us the model of how we are to live our own lives. We are supposed to value what He valued. Our lives are not made up of the various possessions we might accumulate. It is not made up of that glorious career we are developing. It is made up of the people God has graced us with in our lives. Each one of them is a gift beloved; a precious gift from God to us and too often we cast them aside carelessly. At the end of the road, lying in a hospital, your cars won’t come and visit you. Your mansions will not send you flowers. Your bank accounts will not pray with you. The secret Paul spoke of is that true contentment is found in realizing that God has already given you all that you need – you just need to appreciate them more.

    That brings us to our key verse. Love is an action verb beloved. We need to stop talking about how much we love people and start showing it more. We need to realize that tomorrow sometimes does not come. In light of the horrific tragedy this past week and the losses upon losses we see every day – it is time to reassess what we value in this life. It is time to reassess where we have placed our hope. Do not merely say that you love – instead be that love in the lives of the people that need it. In the end, homes can be rebuilt and possessions can be replaced. Our lives however, are made up of the people God has brought into them. Hold them tighter tonight. Don’t let go.

    Rev. Anthony
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