A Perspective of Hope

            I was sitting in Flying Joe’s coffee shop in Levis Commons on Thursday afternoon, preparing today’s message.  While reading the texts, a young woman and her 2 year old daughter walked in and sat down.  “Bree” (the daughter) was filled with joy eating a donut and jumping around on her ‘squeeky’ shoes.  She had the attention of several customers. 

You could see the effects of Bree’s infectious happiness.  What an example of hope!  No matter what was happening in the complicated lives of people sitting at the shop, for a window of time all concerns were replaced by smiles seeded through a child.

            Listen again to the words from Lamentations, chapter 3.  “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in him.  The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him.  It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” 

            As I read these words, I can envision little Bree playing with a joyful spirit.  She brought moments of love and mercy to our lives at Flying Joes.  She wasn’t worried about how to pay the mortgage this month or how the continuing rain could damage this year’s crops.  She trusted that her mother was taking care of her and she lived out her joy. 

The Lamentation’s text may have had a similar affect on its readers of the time, as a distraction of hope in the midst of anxiety.  A descriptive paragraph begins the book of Lamentations in my Study Bible.  It reads, “The Book of Lamentations is a work of art produced in response to a historical disaster.  Its five poems grieve over the destruction of Jerusalem, military occupation, and the deportation of its leading citizens by King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians in 586 BCE.  The book’s evocative poetry enables it to encompass the sorrows of the world.”

            In the depths of despair for the Israelites, they cry out to the Lord.  But the cry is not one of hopelessness.  It is a cry of hope; hope in a God that is bigger than any of our earthly problems, hope in a God that is bigger than our understanding, and hope in a God that loves and forgives us, bringing peace to our spirits in any circumstance.  As the Israelites witnessed destruction, occupation, and deportation the author proclaims, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  The Lord is my portion therefore I will hope in him.”

            The same hope is found in the woman who suffered bleeding and Jairus in today’s Gospel text from Mark 5.  The woman had suffered for 12 years, endured much under many physicians, and spent all that she had only to decline in health.  She had tried everything, without success.  Talk about desperate for help!  And Jairus, one of the leaders of the synagogue, took a chance stepping outside of his Jewish traditions by crying out to Jesus in hope for his dying daughter.  Like children, they came to Jesus.

            It’s usually when we are at our deepest of lows when we go to Jesus.  We will usually try everything in our power or abilities to fix our situations until at wits end, we empty ourselves of ourselves making room for Him.  Why do we as adults think we need to do things on our own?

Neither the woman nor Jairus had completely given up hope since they went to Jesus for healing.  Every earthly institution, person, and process had fallen short.  To the woman Jesus said, ‘Your faith has made you well.’  And in the presence of Jairus, Jesus breathed life into the dead.

Jesus follows through with his promises.  In Matthew 18, Jesus says that one must become humble like a child to enter the kingdom.  So let’s eat donuts and dance like little Bree, trusting Jesus (like she trusts her mother) when he says that you and I are loved and forgiven.  Amen.