Sunday, April 20, 2008

Hanging on to hope

Some people do not want anyone to rule over them, but I find it a comfort.

This past week has been full of unexpected stresses, personal and otherwise. Family issues, computer problems, spiritual war, an unexpected cold snap and dump of snow, and certainly not least, the murder in our city of an elderly man at the hand of a stranger. Many would say these, particularly the last, are random acts, random events that have no connection to each other and certainly have no reason for happening.

Thinking that way would make a basket case out of me. I’d be afraid to go outside, afraid of each day as it comes, worried about my family, anxious that this computer would quit working or crash at any time, and on and on. Even though these things must be grappled with, my heart knows that my God truly is Lord of all.

Today’s devotional reading begins with Ephesians 1:22-23. “And He (God the Father) put all things under His (God the Son’s) feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

I have a Boss, a Leader, One who rules over me in grace and wisdom. Because He does, whatever happens is His design for my life, and even when I protest or kick and fight with it, deep in my heart I know that He knows and He cares. Further, He will end it or make sense of it and certainly use all things for good in my life, helping me become more like Himself (Romans 8:28-29).

Today’s reading brings out the wonder of the union of Christ and His Body, the church. It says that He doesn’t need us to be complete for He is God, yet as the Son of man, the fullness of Jesus includes the church. We who belong to Him are His expression here on earth, the Groom’s bride, the Shepherd’s sheep, the Foundation’s building. We are the visible representation of the One who died for us, rose again, and lives forever.

The thoughts expressed in that devotional writing are almost too lofty for me today. I’m going out to teach a class, prepared yet feeling wholly inadequate. Some family members are sick or needy in other ways. The snow has stopped but the streets are treacherous. It is cold and I am sort of thinking hibernation with hot chocolate would be a good thing. My thoughts are scrambled, and I’m really hoping this next week will be better than the last one.

There is some positive news. The person suspected of killing the elderly man has been captured. Less than positive are the reports of his entries on Facebook. They leave me troubled and wondering if no one cared enough to notice that this deeply agitated young man was so dangerous, and why no one loved him enough to intervene.

Mixing all this together, my prayer today is that the church, the Body of Jesus Christ, lives out the character and grace that He has given us. May we be, may I be that to a crazy world, a place where others can run to and find hope. The One who rules over us is everything we need, and gives us everything we need. While the church may not be able to do that as perfectly for others who are in need, I’m praying that we who are members of His Body will represent Him, our Head, as clearly and mercifully as He presents Himself to us.

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