Friday, November 6, 2009

Max Lucado from October 22, 2009

When You are Low on Hope

Max Lucado speaks to my heart. Visit him at his web site and join his weekly reading email list here. You won't be disappointed. Instead, you will be built up and encouraged to be more real.

Here is a recent writing of his excerpted from one of his fine books, "A Life Worth Giving":

Water. All Noah can see is water. The evening sun sinks into it. The clouds are reflected in it. His boat is surrounded by it. Water. Water to the north. Water to the south. Water to the east. Water to the west. Water.

He sent a raven on a scouting mission; it never returned. He sent a dove. It came back shivering and spent, having found no place to roost. Then, just this morning, he tried again. With a prayer he let it go and watched until the bird was no bigger than a speck on a window.

All day he looked for the dove’s return.

Now the sun is setting, and the sky is darkening, and he has come to look one final time, but all he sees is water. Water to the north. Water to the south. Water to the east. Water to the …

You know the feeling. You have stood where Noah stood. You’ve known your share of floods. Flooded by sorrow at the cemetery, stress at the office, anger at the disability in your body or the inability of your spouse. You’ve seen the floodwater rise, and you’ve likely seen the sun set on your hopes as well. You’ve been on Noah’s boat.

And you’ve needed what Noah needed; you’ve needed some hope. You’re not asking for a helicopter rescue, but the sound of one would be nice. Hope doesn’t promise an instant solution but rather the possibility of an eventual one. Sometimes all we need is a little hope.

That’s all Noah needed. And that’s all Noah received.

Here is how the Bible describes the moment: “When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf!” (Gen. 8:11 NIV).

An olive leaf. Noah would have been happy to have the bird but to have the leaf! This leaf was more than foliage; this was promise. The bird brought more than a piece of a tree; it brought hope. For isn’t that what hope is? Hope is an olive leaf—evidence of dry land after a flood. Proof to the dreamer that dreaming is worth the risk.

Don’t we love the olive leaves of life?
“It appears the cancer may be in remission.”
“I can help you with those finances.”
“We’ll get through this together.”
What’s more, don’t we love the doves that bring them?
Perhaps that’s the reason so many loved Jesus.

To all the Noahs of the world, to all who search the horizon for a fleck of hope, he proclaims, “Yes!” And he comes. He comes as a dove. He comes bearing fruit from a distant land, from our future home. He comes with a leaf of hope.

A Love Worth GivingHave you received yours? Don’t think your ark is too isolated. Don’t think your flood is too wide. Receive his hope, won’t you? Receive it because you need it. Receive it so you can share it.

Love always hopes. “Love … bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:4–7 NKJV, emphasis mine).

Love hopes. That is so cool. It also endures, and that's cool too.

Where he says above about the little olive branches in our lives “It appears the cancer may be in remission” I think of a friend courageously fighting cancer, having heard from the Divine Healer. In his case, the olive branch was really a might oak tree, and that's way cool.

When I read “We’ll get through this together,”I think of the journey that my wife and I have ended up taking these last several years with our health, and how our faith in God has sustained us and made us more together than ever. It has built our love and devotion to each other and our marriage, but particularly has inspired our faith in the One who made us and loves us every moment of our lives, from that very moment we were conceived.

If seeing God's faithfullness to those who call on Him doesn't inflame your heart, your wood's wet.

Can somebody give me a "Praise the Lord"?

1 comment:

Joshua S. said...

There is a beautiful devotional song by George Harrison entitled YOUR LOVE IS FOREVER. As we all know, Beatle George found musical and spiritual inspiration in eastern mysticism, but this particular song cuts across religious/denominational barriers because it is, to my ears, an expression of pure love/unity with God in that love. I particularly like seasonal comparison in the lyric, which contrasts the ephemeral nature of material/earthly things with the infinite nature of God's divine love.

"But unlike summer that came and went,
Your love is forever,
I feel it and my heart knows
That we share it - together"

Listening to this particular song virtually ALWAYS elevates my mood, reinforces me spiritually, and just generally makes me feel BLESSED - even on the worst, rainiest days! It is - bar none - one of the most beautiful musical prayers I have ever heard.

This posting made that song pop to mind. Please find it, get comfy and cozy, and give it a listen. You will, I think, be quite amazed.