by Rob Caudillo
I have been thinking about hope. The wild weather we endured the last week and half of December, has me hoping that we do not see any more snow for quite awhile. As we begin the new year, I hope to lose those holiday pounds, to try out the new golf toys I recently got, to have no more surprise car repairs, to have our door bell rung by the Publishers' Clearing House Representatives, to have my entry win the Golf Digest magazine’s U.S. Open Contest. There’s plenty of hoping in my thoughts. But what I have noticed about my hopes is that each could be understood or seen as a wish or desire. That is not bad.
But when I think about what the scriptures say about hope – a hope authored by and intimately connected to God, I realize that there is a striking difference.
The Apostle Paul said,
“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.”
This is a hope that is transforming. It is hope that only God could make possible in a person’s life.
During our Advent season, we had the pleasure of hearing the Matsiko Children’s Choir at our church. We enjoyed an evening filled with native song, youthful energy of non-stop movement and joy-filled passion. Many of us are still amazed that the front of the sanctuary survived all the jumping and stomping.
What was most memorable for me about the evening was when various members of the choir shared some of their personal stories. We heard about loss of families due to death, of abandonment due to poverty and culture, and times of abuse and hopelessness. We also heard of hope when these same children met the church of Christ and the transforming hope of God – a caring community transforming life situations with the hope of tangible resources that provide new opportunities, and a hope of the real possibility of a future and life as a teacher, a doctor, a social worker or a psychologist in their native lands. That’s transforming hope!
This transforming hope has me also thinking about a number of conversations I have had with several of our church’s leaders. These conversations hold opportunities and possibilities of real transformation in being and doing God’s Kingdom work. So I’m again filled with hope - transforming hope. I hope we are available to God’s mission before us. I hope we are committed, trusting and obedient to ministry opportunities. I hope we are ready and willing to place ourselves, our resources, our all before God and the Lord’s call to hope-filled living, sharing and celebrating.