Saturday, May 12, 2007

Romans 15:1-13

In the midst of difficult times, Paul sends a word of encouragement: our God is a God of hope, and he is our power to be hopeful, no matter what the outward circumstances seem to indicate.

I know plenty of people, people I see every day, who need encouragement in boatloads. There is a man in his thirties who may have arterial blockage and need a stent put in today. There is a woman trying to hold her marriage together and keep her home. There is a young man wondering if he can afford to go on a mission trip to build homes in Mexico. I really really need to be strong for these people, to be praying for them daily, to be urging them to stay on course and trust divine wisdom. Of course, I need someone to be strong and encourage me too!

Lately I've been listening to the Bible on CD, the whole Bible, starting with Genesis. I'm up to the Second Book of Kings. As Paul writes, these scriptures are intended to encourage us. I have to say, it's been a bit rocky, not always encouraging to me at all...the narratives are replete with war, murder, deception, illicit sex, substance abuse, and the black arts. God's chosen people never stayed on track for long it seems. But, in the midst of thousands of years of chaos, a thread of his purpose endured, and from that, eventually, emerged Jesus. And Jesus extended the promise of hope out to all humankind.

Paul takes the long view, and so must we. Lord, fill us with the hope of believing that miracles can happen here, now. By the power of Holy Spirit. Amen.

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