HOPE... what does it really mean?
The light at the end of the tunnel? The anticipation of eating cake and getting presents on your birthday? Living an abundant life even after the doctor gives you a word full of despair?
Are we so reckless to assume that we can even touch the hem of the garment of one who has the ability to heal us? When pain and anguish is running rampant in our little bubble of life. .. when we lose sight of the grandeur of what is waiting for us beyond what we can grasp for life here on this big blue marble we call Earth.
Do you have hope? Faith in what you can not see? Assurance of what may be in store? Do you even try to pretend that there is some sort of miniscule anticipation looming somewhere deep in the depths of your soul for any type of reprieve?
"Be still.... and know that I am God" He says. Be still? Be patient? Cast all my worries on Him? Be not afraid? Stand firm in the assurance?
Hope... the final frontier. A place where no man has gone before.
Most of us have heard of the parable of the Prodigal Son. A young man...too big for his own britches...demands that his father hands over the inheritance owed to him. He then squanders it away recklessly. Finding himself living destitute and starving.... even sharing the pig's slop for sustenance. He looks back at what he had under his father's care. Sure he had to do some chores and follow some rules. But even the servants under his father's roof had it better than what he was suffering through right now. What he desired now...after messing up so much...was to be free from the pain, the shame and the destitution that he had unfortunately come to by his own doings. Freedom would be comforting. Even just a little freedom. And so he heads towards that thought of freedom.
With a desperation only he could understand, he stays on the unsure path back to his father's house. He figures he would even beg to be treated as simply as one of the servants because he knew the kindness his father has given to even the lowest of those who served him. Would his father accept him back when he had been so disrespectful? So rude? So ignorant? So pridefull? So arrogant? So scandalous? Not just WOULD he...but COULD he? Would he even blame him for not opening the door for him? Even turning him away? How could he even think that he could. Still...a shred of hope?
And then...as his mind was assuredly spinning with all these thoughts... he grows closer to his father's house. Probably with more nervousness each step he took. Anticipating a welcome of the most meager size possible. Doubt and despair running rampant in his mind as to how he was even going to approach his father. To ask him for forgiveness. To ask him to take him back in under his wing. To somehow right was he himself had wronged! To plead and beg and grovel. If that's what it took. That's what he would have to do. There was no other way. He was desperately in need of his father's help.
From a distance...the Prodigal son was viewed. He may have been dirty, hungry, head hanging low. All the father knew was that his son had returned. He was alive. He was safe. And we was coming home! He shouted orders quickly for a fatted calf to be butchered and cooked. His best robe to be brought forward to be placed on his son's shoulders. Celebration details to be made. The party of all parties! For his son has returned! His son was back! And then it happened!
The father started to run. He was not going to wait for that child to reach the front door and knock. He was going to go after him! He was so excited to see him come home! Nothing else mattered! He grabs hold of his son with what was probably the biggest bear hug known in history - and with joyous tears in his eyes and happiness filling every crevice of his soul...he welcomed his son back into his arms, his home, his grace.
The son had even been willing to sleep in the barn and be as one of the servants. But his father would have none of that! My son has returned and we will celebrate!
Who's hope was greater do you think? The boy's hope of being welcomed back into his father's arms.... even as a servant? Or the father's hope of one day... his son returning to whew he belonged and his family being complete again?
I would have to say the father.... as he RAN to grab his boy! Even the boys brother could not comprehend why, after all this time, as he was home doing his father's will and abiding by the rules as he should... would such a celebration be given to the wandering brother?
Who are you in this story? A little of each? Are you running? Are you free?
Jesus talked mostly in these type of parables. Stories that tho they may have been entertaining...told a story that could be likened to us even now today.
Are you anything like the Prodigal son? Lost your way... even for a second. Lost in a world that has failed to give you it's riches and fame and glory - and instead has tried to rob you, kill you. .. even destroy you?
Are you ready to run? Are you ready to hope again? Are you ready to ask for forgiveness for doing whatever it is that you may have done? God is our Father, just like in the story...He's just waiting for you to get tired of doing things your own desperate way. He's waiting to run to grab you up in His arms and welcome you or welcome you back.
There IS hope! Will you run to it? For it? Don't wait! Go barefoot if you have to! Thru the lush green pastures towards the celebration that awaits you!
I have to remind myself daily to seek Him fervently - as chaos tries to overtake my everyday life. But I hold to hope! I run with hopeful anticipation as to what God has for me in my future. I pray for you to embrace the same type of hope. Run free! Run free with the hope. Run free with the hope that the Father is running towards you too! Because He IS!