Hope and the Adventure of Motherhood
Sometimes we live without really living, don't we? It doesn't always take a major blow like divorce, death, infertility or infidelity to steal our passion and joy. Daily life can overwhelm us with never-ending tasks, our unreasonable expectations for ourselves, others and our circumstances can keep us from enjoying each moment. When we focus on all the things that threaten to consume us, we fail to see and appreciate what has been given to us.
Imagine a winding cluster of concrete walkways. In the midst of harsh, gray, a tiny purple flower spring through a crack in the cement. We quite easily see the concrete jungle - it dominates the scene. But to discover the little bit of life, pushing its way up in the midst of such opposition, is indeed inspiring.
* Think about your life. If this scene were a reflection of your life, what would the concrete and flower represent?
* What do you choose to see on a daily basis? Does the concrete dominate your vision, or do you allow yourself to be inspired by the flower?
Whether you look for the flower amidst the concrete, or are so overwhelmed you can't see anything at all, Jesus wants to open our eyes to a more beautiful and hopeful reality.
Read Mark 8:22-26
The Healing of a Blind Man at Bethsaida
22They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, "Do you see anything?"
24He looked up and said, "I see people; they look like trees walking around."
25Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26Jesus sent him home, saying, "Don't go into the village.[a]"
* How did the blind man find Jesus? (v. 22)
* Jesus healed the blind man in an unusual way. What was the very first thing that Jesus did? (v. 23)
* In some ways, we are all blind. What do you think it means for Jesus to lead you away to restore your sight?
* What was the next unusual thing Jesus did to the blind man's eyes and what did He ask the blind man? (v. 23)
* What was the blind man's response? (v. 24)
* How did God respond to the blind man's honesty? (v. 25)
* What do you think the Lord wants to do for you? (v. 25)
"Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides You, who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him." - Isaiah 64:4
"If our waiting begins by quieting the activities of daily life, and being still before God; if we bow and seek to see God in His universal and almighty operation; if we yield to Him in the assurance that He is working and will work in us; if we maintain the place of humility and stillness and surrender until God's Spirit has stirred up in us confidence that He will perfect His work, our waiting will indeed become the strength and the joy of the soul." - Andrew Murray, The Believer's Secret of Waiting on God
In our fast-paced, "microwave society, waiting seems entirely out of date and a waste of time. The dictionary gives some interesting definitions for the word wait. It comes from the Old English word to watch, which according to Webster's has these meanings: to stay in place in expectation of; to look forward expectantly; to be ready and available; to remain temporarily neglected or unrealized. Waiting on God and hoping in Him are strong biblical principles and very important in understanding how I am to live my life according to God's ways. If I want His purpose accomplished in my life, than I will learn the discipline of waiting on God and experience the joy that only hope can bring.
* Read the following Psalms and discover the benefits of waiting and, what the psalmist was waiting for the Lord to do.
Psalms 25: 3-5
No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse.
Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
Psalm 33: 16-22
16 No king is saved by the size of his army;
no warrior escapes by his great strength.
17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
despite all its great strength it cannot save.
18 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
19 to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.
20 We wait in hope for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
22 May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,
even as we put our hope in you.
1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.
5 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God [a] ;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
To wait and hope are closely related and often interchangeable in Scriptures. Waiting seems to be a measure of our hope. While in captivity Jeremiah wrote some wonderful words in Lamentations 3:21-25
". . . my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD'S great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail, They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The LORD is my portion, therefore I will wait for Him. The LORD is good to those whose hope is in Him.'"
As Andrew Murray said in the quote God wants us to "maintain the place of humility and stillness and surrender" in the place we find ourselves on a daily basis. What other way could God encourage us and teach us to totally depend on His guidance, His way, His timing? How else could we really learn that our hope was in Him and not just our abilities.
The waiting on God to reveal His purposes in us is so essential to comprehending His purpose for us. The reality of God's presence is not dependent on any place we are in at any given day, but only dependent upon our determination to set the Lord always before us.
We don't need to know exactly where we are going - just whom we are following.
"The height of the mountaintop is measured by the dismal drudgery of the valley . . . It is in the place of humiliation that we find our true worth to God - that is where our faithfulness is revealed." - Oswald Chambers: My Utmost for His Highest