Reverend G. William AmesDecember 1996
This month I have not received any questions so I'd like to speak about a subject that I believe is an essential for a successful life. And that subject is "hope".
Without it, we despair and lose sight of the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. With it, we are compelled to do the impossible and we sometimes find that super-human strength, in body and mind, to endure the worst circumstances that life can heave our way.
Arms nailed down, are you telling me something?That song by Jars of Clay goes to the crux of the issue and answers the fundamental question asked by all people, "Did Christ really die for me? Did He save me?" You know what my answer is and you know what His answer is- YES!! God didn't put any restrictions around who could come to Him. He did put restrictions on how we get to Him. The way we get to him is through the acceptance of Christ's death on the cross. And it is only by our defiant unbelief and denial of Christ that we lose our way. However, that's not to say that a person can't turn themselves around and find their way back to Him. They simply need to open up to the possibilities and love that God has for them and humbly accept Him into their life.
Eyes turned out, are you looking for someone?
This is the one thing, the one thing that I know.
Blood-stained brow, are you dying for nothing?
Flesh and blood, is it so elemental?
This is the one thing, the one thing that I know.
Blood-stained brow, He wasn't broken for nothing.
Arms nailed down, He didn't die for nothing.
This is the one thing, the one thing that I know.*
So you see, there is hope. And its always there yet let's not play Russian Roulette and consider this grace that God covers us with as a license to believe and disbelieve; to waffle like a politician. I know that as a mere mortal I would be pretty disgruntled should some one first believe in me and then disbelieve and so on and so on. Could you imagine what God must feel when some one He loves does that? I don't know if we can in all actuality but I'll take a wild guess and say that He probably feels pretty awful and angry. And doing this to God is a great way to get out of fellowship with Him real fast. I know as a Christian that when I don't go to Him for forgiveness and decide to live life with reckless abandon, God reminds me that I need to seek Him out and redirect my attention by moving His hand of protection away from me for a bit. Usually some fairly unpleasant things occur to remind me to get off my rear end and get on my knees. You see...even ministers are human.
My advice to people anywhere and in any condition is this: When you think all else has failed, look to God for your hope and your answers. The more you focus on Him and His immense love for us, the louder He hears your voice when you pray and ask Him for relief. Remember not to pray for selfish things but pray for those things that will enable you to understand His purpose for you in this life and that His will and not the world's be done. You see, when we start to live on the spiritual side of life and get out of the physical/material stuff, we'll start to see trials, troubles and circumstances in a different light. A peace from understanding comes to us and we realize that despite what happens to us on this earth, by the fury of nature or by the hate and disdain of others (even those who call themselves Christians), that our hope and our promise is always at hand, waiting to hold us, comfort us and teach us but most of all, to spread His love to all people through us, His servants, by service and by example.
Let me leave you with this prayer I adapted from a little prayer booklet titled, "A Treasury of Prayers," by the Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota:
Pray this with me if you would: O dear Jesus, I humbly ask You to grant Your special graces and mercies to our human family; to all people of any faith, color, creed, religion or orientation. May You permit our lives to be the shrine of peace, purity, love, labor and faith that they need be. I beg You, dear Jesus, to protect and bless all of us, absent and present, living and dead. And may You direct us and give us knowledge to do Your will in this life. In Your holy name. Amen.
Thank you and God bless you. You know where to find me. E-mail is always welcome and it will be great to hear from you! Pray for me as I pray for you. Until next month...
If you are depressed, despairing and need help, please don't wait to get help. Call a licensed professional such as a doctor, counselor or social worker as soon as possible. Some things in life take a little bit more than we have to give to work the issues out. Look in your local telephone directory for listings of professionals near you or if its an emergency, don't hesitate to call "911" or the telephone operator. You're important and we don't want to lose you!
Questions about AIDS, call the National AIDS Hotline at 1-800-342-AIDS. Peace!!
Please note: If anyone would like to supply an essay regarding the book I'm in the process of writing, please E-mail me with a request for more information. Thank you.
*("Liquid", a song by the Christian group "Jars of Clay" (c)1995 Pogostick Music [BMI]/Bridge Building Music [BMI]; Brentwood, Tennessee)