I met with a retired officer yesterday. He called me up on the phone and asked if I could meet him for coffee. I had just spent a few days having been discouraged, frustrated and done with it all. His phone call seemed to be out of the blue, but he mentioned coffee and I’ve been known to share in a cup or ten.
We sat down in the little diner in a vinyl booth and ordered our cups of hot coffee and some toast. I was still unsure of the reason for the phone call yet in my spirit I was a little worse for the wear. The retired officer had his large study bible open on the table across from me and as we sipped and chit chatted about family, the corps and even troubles, I found myself pouring out to him that which had been eating at my heart for days. That small vinyl booth became a sort of confessional to me. I knew that I was in a safe place and in safe company and so I was able to find the words to speak. As I did it felt as if a burden was being lifted from me. What a joy it is to experience such a deep moment of encouragement and to begin to see again a glimpse of hope and understanding! We all need these moments of confiding. We all require, whether we realize it or not, someone who is willing to seek us out and to encourage our spirit. These moments become a salve to the soul. What a sweet encounter of fellowship!
Receiving Hope –
Many of us need to receive hope today. Some are downtrodden. Some are hurting. Some may even feel as if they have reached the end of their ropes. Perhaps that’s you. Perhaps you are in need of a safe place with safe people to confide in. Do you have someone to talk to? Someone to share these burdens? Hope is a precious commodity and so much more valuable are those with whom we can sit and just receive the salve that our souls require. Christian brothers and sister, fellow soldiers of our Army we need dispensers of hope, but we must also recognize when we are the ones in need of replenishing, rest and an ear to listen to our burdens. We ought not carry our burdens around with us thinking no one cares or that we aren’t important enough to have someone in whom we can confide in. Secondly it is not a matter of weakness when we share these burdens with people who care for us. Relish those moments. Embrace them. Allow those safe places to exist in your life! If we are to be an Army of hope we must accept hope from others with humility and thankfulness. Without these moments of respite, and safety to confide we may not be prepared to dispense this vital commodity to others.
Dispensing Hope –
Fellow Soldiers once we have gone to this fountain of hope and have drunk of its healing we then must take up again this mighty cause to sharing the hope of Christ to a broken and hurting world. Some may never experience such peace and love if we are not prepared to dispense the hope of Christ. We, as an army, should be a beacon of hope to the single Mom who is barely making ends meet and has to raise her children up without the help of their father. We should be a beacon of hope to the drunk and the abuser who only see the end of the bottle to drowned out the ache of hopelessness in his heart. We should be a beacon of hope to parent who is waiting anxiously for a rebellious child who may or may not return home again.
We must be beacon of hope to so many more lost and hurting souls in our communities who just need to know that someone truly cares. Oh Army, we are so much more than just another social service organization. We are so much more than just another community bridge to homelessness. We stand at the cross roads, the intersection of lives who need to receive hope. These are the front lines where souls can be saved or souls can be lost. We need you to dispense the mighty hope of Christ so that not another soul will be lost! We need each other so that we can pick each other up when we have weakened from these heavy burdens. We do not do this mighty work alone. No we are never alone! We have His Holy Spirit present with us, guiding us and prodding us onward.
Lift up your head –
The retired Officer that I was sitting with in that vinyl booth, my confessional, began to read a brief passage of scripture to me:
“May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May he send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.”
He then looked at me and told me about the various entrances and exits of the temple in Jerusalem. He told me that when those who were discouraged needed encouragement they needed only to walk into the temple through the exit gate while the worshipers who had just been in temple exited. There amongst the exiting worshipers the discouraged soul could lift his head up and see the faces of those who had just been blessed. The discouraged could lift his head up and look upon the blessing coming forth out of the house of God and be enveloped in the very blessing of God himself.
If you are discouraged today and need hope – receive it. Lift up your head. Take in God’s encouraging hope and love. He loves YOU! He wants YOU! YOU matter to Him. Receive His hope and blessing today!
Secondly if you are able to dispense His hope to others who need hope – DO IT! Be a blessing to those who need to be filled once again with the hope of Christ! Be an encourager. Be available. Be honest. Be real. Share Christ and Be a safe place for others to receive Him. Oh Army of Salvation…Be Hope! Be Peace! Be God’s ambassadors where ever He may send you today!
-Just another thing for our Army to ponder today! May God