HOPE MAKES THE DIFFERENCE IN OUR OUTLOOK
Friday, December 2nd
Fear: to be afraid of; expect with alarm; to have a reverential awe of
Find: to come upon often accidentally, encounter; to come upon by searching or effort; to attain, reach; to discover by the intellect or the feelings; experience; to bring oneself to a realization of one’s powers…
On this particular day, the shower stall had become my private confessional booth. Behind the curtain and under the cleansing waters, I quietly confessed to God that I was afraid. Cancer had intruded my body – but also my every thought. Most of the time I could sense God’s peace, but not this time; I worried and prayed aloud about my treatments as well as my outcome. Fear seemed to be winning the day…
I dressed and went to the kitchen to look through the dinner basket our friends Becky and Doy had brought for us. Their kindness truly helped us in our time of illness. As I eagerly pulled out the delicious items, I was surprised to also find a bracelet Becky had made for me. The bracelet displayed one word.
Through the timing of my honest prayer and Becky’s gift, God was able to surprise and assure me that I was not alone, and I did not need to fear. My outlook became brighter and more hopeful.
In our times of fear, Advent Hope comes to surround us.
Our Advent Hope is the awareness that God is always, always working, moving, awakening, guiding, encouraging, revealing. The word find has many definitions, and we can find God’s presence in all these ways. I have found God surprising me through unexpected encounters, and I have found God through active searching. But when I am mindful – when I am prayerfully watching and seeking – I open myself to notice more of the ways God is already actively moving. I begin to find holy connections in what would normally be regarded as ordinary coincidences.
God is here. God is moving. We only need to pay attention.
Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. (Matthew 7:7, NRSVUE)
Advent Hope increases each time we seek and find God in our times of fear. I love that the definition of fear also includes reverential awe. We can replace our fear with the better fear – the awe of God’s incredible goodness and love. I treasure this passage from the prophet Isaiah:
For I, the Lord your God,
hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Do not fear,
I will help you.”
Isaiah 41:13 (NRSVUE)
May Advent Hope open our hearts to find God already with us, encouraging us and easing our fears. May Advent Hope uplift and encourage our outlook upon all the days ahead. God has promised to hold and help us.
We only need to reach out our hands.
(There will not be a reflection tomorrow – Saturday. We will begin the week of Advent Peace on Sunday.)