Experiencing The God Of Wonders
Life is hard.
Sometimes life seems too hard and harsh to endure.
Sometimes I feel like life has past me by and none of the things I hope to experience in life will happen.
I won’t get a good job, finish school, go to seminary, meet the girl of my dreams, or have my own place.
I suspect we have been through dark times when we fear our good has past us by never to return.
No hope is that what the gospel teaches us. Is that Jesus teaches us that we have no hope. Is salvation about getting to a celestial paradise or living life to the fullest (John 10:10). My understanding of the gospel is that Jesus is not just about justifying us before God or getting us into heaven, but teaching us how to live life to the fullest, loving everyone, and building community between diverse people. James 4 tells us to not worry about the past or future, but do the good we know we should now. To do otherwise is evil (as The Message says) or a sin (as the NIV has it).
The gospel gives us hope and strength to live now and to face whatever is before us knowing that God is with us not against us. Experiencing the God of Wonders begins with seeing others and ourselves as God sees us knowing there is always hope.
Stephen King: “Remember, Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
One of the things I appreciate about Stephen King’s novels are that his characters face demons, monsters, and ordinary tragedy not wallowing in their personal tragedies, but face the darkness both inner and outer head on. Sometimes not all of them survive. Usually there is light at the end of the tunnel. Things don’t always turn out the way the hero wants it to, maybe their wounded or alone, but there is hope that they will find goodness again and they always seem stronger because of their journey. Just like in life, we are wounded, suffer broken friendships, divorces, loved ones die, but there is always hope and become stronger and more able to handle what happens.
Hope is not passive or inactive, but is an active power that refuses to let the bad things get the final word. Hope says the story is not over. Hope says that God is not done with us. As The Dalai Lama says, our real disaster is losing hope. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” We must never lose hope and in our hope, experience the God of Wonders. In Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith Anne Lamott writes, “Hope is not about proving anything. It’s about choosing to believe this one thing, that love is bigger than any grim, bleak shit anyone can throw at us.”
Experiencing the God of Wonders is not about life being all sunshine and flowers nothing bad happens, but knowing that in the deepest dark and most painful burdens God is there with us. That in all our darkness, pain, struggles, and defeats that God will transform us into the kind of people will not only be able to handle the bad stuff, but the kind of people who can fully live the beauty, love, grace, and miracles that are on their way. Experiencing the God of wonders is knowing no matter what comes our way we will be able to endure and overcome all the crap. There is a light at the end of the darkness, pleasure at the other end of the pain, and victory on the other side of defeat. In Christ and in community, we will be the sons and daughters of God in a kingdom not of this world where there will be no more tears and sin is known no more. To experience the God of Wonders is to hope in and for the hopeless, love wastefully, live by faith, and accept costly grace.
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
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