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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, June 11, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | 2 Corinthians 4:13—5:1

But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—“I believed, and so I spoke”—we also believe, and so we speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (NRSV)

I love how this passage is grounded in a deep and profound sense of hope. “We look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen.” It’s easy to feel hopeless. With all the pain, suffering, violence, oppression, and corruption in the world, it takes a special kind of something to stay hopeful. I see hope as different than positivity. There really isn’t a bright side to everything, and sometimes forcing a shallow positivity can be more harmful than helpful to a suffering friend. Have you ever heard “It’s all part of God’s plan” in response to a recent diagnosis of yourself or a loved one? I don’t think all this suffering in the world is part of God’s plan at all.

And then there’s hope. A hope that in the midst of tragedy through gun violence, we see youth share powerful and inspiring stories that mobilize us. I believe and so I spoke. A hope where just when it feels we cannot go on, a friend notices we’re upset and we cry a relieving cry on their shoulder. A hope that as babies giggle at the simplest things and with new life so beautiful and precious, how can we not believe and then speak. As Christians, our job is to maintain hope together, hope that the world doesn’t have to be as it is.

What cannot always be seen is God’s hope for us. It’s that inkling of the Spirit present in the moments where we find hope. Where can you find hope today? And if you can’t, give me a call, and we’ll search together.

Hopeful Spirit, give us courage and resilience to find the glory of your hopefulness in this world, so that we may strengthen the work of your kingdom. Amen.

Written by Abbi Heimach-Snipes, Pastoral Resident

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