The challenge of walking with the God who knows me
Names changed throughout except in some cases where the person involved has been or is in ministry.
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If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
1 Peter 1:13
“Set your hope fully on the grace to be given when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
The story was of a pastor writing a book about hope. He could not understand it, until he was put in a situation where his life was in mortal danger. Having badly broken his leg on an isolated Scottish beach, against all odds and much pain he pushed himself back to a road in the hope of finding help. Only when all hope of life failed did he realise that his hope was Jesus and find peace. At that point salvation came.
I knew when I read this story that I did not know what he was talking about. What does it mean – “My hope is Jesus.” I began to pray that God would help me to understand.
It was the end of the academic year. Student ministry is like a marathon, one runs continually from October through to June, at the end one is exhausted, but one still need to go the extra mile because it ends with a week long summer conference. In this conference I was to co-lead a two hour seminar with my friend Jez. We had a meeting and we split the subjects of the seminar between us. I began work and came up with some ideas. These I shared with Jez, but as we shared it became obvious that I was not getting it. I tried again, and worked on the material for two days. Again it did not work.
My frustration level was rising. I was not used to this type of failure. I could also see the time disappearing and no results. My tendency under such pressure was to shut myself in my room and hide from the family, pushing people away harder and harder as the pressure increased. I knew that this was wrong, it was not showing love, but pressure excused it. Or did it? I began to realise that what I normally put my hope in was disappearing fast. I had an expectation that if I prayed, and gave a certain amount of time to Bible study, the ideas would flow and there would be enough material for a seminar. But it was not working, and as my hopes were squeezed, bad attitudes began to come out. It was then that I realised what the pastor meant when he had said “My hope is Jesus.” I had to trust God that he would bring about whatever he wanted, and that what he wanted would be good. It would even be good if it was failure in my eyes and in the eyes of all at the conference. With this change in perspective, I found peace and was able to show love. I was able to set aside what I was doing when my son came in to the study asking me to read a story or was asked for help. At each time interruptions came I would have to remind myself that my hope was Jesus.
Finally on the penultimate day we switched subjects and started again. It was just enough time to prepare our material individually, we were however supposed to be a team, dividing up the content. We only had time to walk through the logistics of the seminar before giving it but it dove tailed perfectly and was very successful. God did a miracle.