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Posts Tagged ‘Hope’

Behind the Eyes

Behind your eye there is a place where your optic nerve connects to your retina, called the optic disc. Unlike other cells in your eyes there are no photoreceptor cells on the optic disc, so when an image hits that part of your retina, you just can’t see it.

This is your blind spot. Generally you don’t notice this blind spot in every-day life, because your two eyes work together to cover it up.  Our brain is wired to compensate for the part behind our eye where we just can’t see things.  It’s a fairly impressive part of human design when you think about it. Even more impressive that latest iPad retina display! Actually, not even close.

I’ve heard people say that it’s impossible to believe in something that they cannot see – God, for example.  It takes faith, sometimes a lot of faith to believe in God when you can’t see Him, and also when you can’t really see Him take action when you would expect it, or even not expect it.  For us to believe, we need to have faith, but we also need hope, because faith is what makes more certain and less doubtful.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. ~ Hebrews 11:1

Now I have also heard people say that doubt is the absence of faith or that doubt weakens faith.  I’m not sure that it’s that simple. Doubt can also be useful for us to test faith and to give us hope.

Doubt for me is my blind spot, it’s the one thing that really makes me question my faith.  Sometimes it helps build my faith by making me test and question. Sometimes this gives me more hope and more faith. Other times it erodes all the faith I ever thought I had.  Still it returns, faith, doubt and hope – it is a bit of a cycle really.

I’m glad I’ll only ever need faith as small as a mustard seed.  This is all I’ll ever need to move the mountain of doubts I have sometime.

Knowing I have this blind spot helps me to remember that I need only look to Jesus – the author and perfector of my faith.  In this I have no doubt.  We all have blind spots.  I wonder what yours is? Have you named it?

May you, this week, embrace faith, doubt and hope and rediscover how this cycle helps you to come back to Jesus with your questions, your fears, and your dreams.  May you name and embrace your own blind spots, and by faith, be confident and certain of what you hope for. May the God of hope and glory fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that you may abound in this hope.

Behind the Eyes

Behind the eyes
Forgotten by my mindEye
There is a growing doubling doubt
The persistent nagging kind

Behind the eyes
Not known here today
The doubt of many ages past
Light and dark at play

Behind the eyes
The battle lines are drawn
The enemy marches closer
In the darkness before the dawn

Behind the eyes
The war is already won
In the radiance of the sunrise
By the bloodshed of your son

Behind the eyes
God help me clearly see
That though my battle may be lost
Through you I claim the victory

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Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all.  This is the first verse in the poem Hope by Emily Dickinson.  I really like the metaphor of hope as a tiny bird – a thing with feathers.  It’s also a great description of how we can approach faith, through hope and be certain of something that we really cannot see.


Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
~ Hebrews 11:1

Faith and doubt have often be described as two opposites, one cannot exist without the other.  Doubt can build or destroy faith.  This is not a bad thing or something to be ashamed of, it’s just what it is – being human.  We are a mix of doubt and faith, good and bad, light and dark, spirit and flesh.  It is the just the way God made us. 

God did make us different though. He made us spiritual and physical.  In this way I believe we are unique, special, and made in his image.  So what does this mean about our faith?  How should we hope to have faith in what we cannot see?  Maybe, what we cannot see is physical, and what we have hope in is spiritual.  Maybe.

I have the privilege to live in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city.  With the exception of a remote part of Iceland, Wellington is the windiest city in the world.  Yes – even windier than Chicago!  To me, God is like the wind, I cannot see the wind, but I can feel it.  I really don’t know where the wind comes from, but I believe in it.  I have faith that when I fly my racing kite on a windy day, the wind will lift it and it will soar to great heights.  I believe God is in the wind.  It’s what I hope and what I cannot see, but I know it’s true.

Jesus Culture in their song, How He Loves Us describes it this way:

He is jealous for me
Love’s like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy

That image has stuck with me.  That’s my God, my King.  A mighty and powerful wind and, oh my God how he loves us.

So what about you my friend?  What do you hope for through faith?  How are you certain of what you do not see?  This is what faith is all about.  Sometime this week will you share your story here, or somewhere.  Let’s rest a while and soak up this truth.  We may just be able to help someone see a bit further, and release their faith, through hope.

What I Cannot See

Full of questions
At the end of your rope
Stay and rest a while
With faith comes hope

Full of confusion
Just think you can’t cope
Stay and rest a while
With faith comes hope

Full of yourself
Awash in your opera of soap
Stay a rest a while
With faith comes hope

Full of fear and doubt
Just step out of your boat
Walk towards my rest
Your faith – My hope

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The Angel

I read a book recently, The Final Summit, by Andy Andrews.  It’s a story of one man, David Ponder, who meets the Archangel Gabriel and is taken on a journey to a place where he is met by a whole lot of great people from history.  Their task is to come up with the solution that will save humanity from itself.  Throughout the story Gabriel talks with David and it reminded me of how I’ve been talked to and with by Angels and by God.

I believe Angels are messengers from God. I’ve never seen an Angel, but I think I have heard one or two speak to me on a few occasions.  It’s not so much what they said, it’s how they said it.  It reminded me of how God speaks to me, indirectly yet directly, patiently yet urgently, kindly yet with clear instruction.

I was reflecting on faith, hope and love the other day, as you do, and I’m sure I heard a voice just like Gabriel’s.  Here’s what I heard:

 

Step Out

Step out in faith, the Angel said
When you are called to lead,
Just be obedient to the call
And plant your mustard seed.

You will plant hope, the Angel said
In someone’s life today.
Will you take the opportunity
At work, at home, at play?

It’s not too late, the Angel said
To share your heart today,
It will take faith, and then some hope
But love is the only way.

Have you heard from God or from an Angel lately?

What did you hear and what will you do?

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
~1 Corinthians 13:13

For He will order His angels to protect you wherever you go.
~ Psalm 91:11

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Alright I admit it. I just love 1980’s Christian Hard Rock music.  There I said it. I love everything by Petra.  I saw their On Fire tour a long long time ago (1991 I think) in Auckland with my mate Rob.  It was an awesome experience!

Part of one of their songs ‘Stand in The Gap’ has always stuck with me:

Stand in the gap
Coming boldly to His throne of grace
Stand in the gap
He will hear you when you seek His face
Put your weapon to its use
And believe it will produce
Stand in the gap

I haven’t spent much time in the gap. I’m the first to admit that I’m not really that good at being present.  I find it hard to stop and be fully present. I’m not sure why.  Perhaps it’s easier to live in the past or dream about the future. Sometimes being present, really present, is something that is necessary.  Even when I write this I’m thinking about what I will do tomorrow, and replaying what I did today. It probably shows in my rambling.

Over the last few months I keep running into this verse in the bible. It just keeps appearing everywhere, like when you buy a new car (OK a used car)  and keep seeing the same car everywhere. 

In their hearts humans plan their course,  but the Lord establishes their steps.  ~ Proverbs 16:9

So I’m trying to be present in what this verse means to me.  I’ve been standing in the gap between planning what I’m doing (particularly with my writing and poetry) and waiting for God to direct my steps. It’s a curious place to be and a new experience for me. By being there and being present I’ve discovered God there too and found some opportunities for my hopes and dreams for the future, shaped by my past experiences, and honed by my present presence – in the gap.

Do you have a gap you need to explore between the now and the not yet? 

Here’s my reflection on minding the gap.

Stand in the Gap

In the gap
Between the bound and the free,
Help me see more of you
And much less of me.

In the gap
Between the now and not yet,
Let me plan my course
But Lord direct my steps.

In the gap
Between heaven and hell,
Draw near to me
As I draw from your well.

In the gap
Between souls lost and saved,
Stand with me Lord
As I live through your days.

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Momentum

We both meet here my friend
At this moment of time
In the words of this poem
We both share this same rhyme

The gift that we share
Some words in life’s sentence
A small part of our story
In one little parentheses

In this precious moment
Our souls greet each other
As part of God’s Kingdom
As sisters and brothers

So let joy complete us
As we encounter and share
Let us carry each other
In our hopes and our prayers

Peace be with you my friend
Until next time we meet
Through this avenue of words
In the very same street

May the road rise up to meet you
And may God guide your feet
May the sun warm your face
Until next time we speak.

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Shadows

The sun rises in the morning sky
My shadows fall in behind,
Failure, isolation and regret
They follow me sometimes.

The sun reaches its peak way overhead
My shadows are so small,
They run in and out around me feet
And threaten to make me fall.

As the sun sets at day’s end
My shadows stretch long and thin,
They remind me of my darkened past
They threaten to draw me in.

But I choose to fix my eyes on You
And in Your light I find,
Your perfect love casts out my fear
My shadows fall far behind.

 There is no fear in love, as perfect love casts out fear.
~ 1 John 4:18 (a)

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Benediction

When heartache and trouble
Clamber like monkeys on your back
And your shoulders slump
With the weight of unexpected burden
May your long road rise to meet you
And clearly direct your path

When all hope seems lost
And your soul becomes dim
Behind your grey eyes that forget to sparkle
May a rainbow of bright thick colours
Splash over the canvas of your mind
And awaken you to choose life again

When you struggle on your own
With burdens too common to share
Because others have won medals
For burying their burdens
May you reach out
For we were always meant to
Share each others burdens

When someone pulls your thread
And you feel so unravelled
So tied up in knots and pulled apart
May you catch a glimpse of the other side of
Your tapestry of life
See it taking shape as a
Beautiful landscape

May these words dance around you
On a gentle warm breeze
May love surround you
And weave a cloak
Of hope and character
Around your life

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