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Posted on Jul 30, 2015 in Blog, Deliberate Living, Featured, Intentional Living, Pain and Suffering, repost

Can We All Really Be Victims?

Can We All Really Be Victims?

One of the biggest, and most dangerous trends I see in our world today, is the “victim state” we live in. Let me explain.

Everything is someone else’s fault now, and we are all victims of someone or something else. There is no responsibility on us to own up to our own shortcomings. When something bad happens, we immediately figure out who we’re going to blame for it.

We live in a virtual dark alley, and someone is always taking advantage of us. There is always some way that someone or something has mistreated us.

Is it even possible though? Can we all be victims? For there to be a victim, doesn’t someone have to be a perpetrator?

Bad things do happen. I would never make a claim that they don’t. People can do some really awful things. There are true victims. There are people who have been wounded by others, taken advantage of by others, used and abused by others. I do not belittle this truth. In fact, it is because of this truth, that I think we need to stop playing the victim in the small things.

Why? Because when we make ourselves out to be the recipient of someone’s abuse (when what really happened is we made a mistake or we came up short) we belittle the true victims who have gone through traumatic things.

More often than not, we bear the burden of responsibility in the problems we face in life. Yes, bad things happen. Yes, people take advantage of us. But, most of the time, we have done or not done something that led us to our current state.

The most common place I hear this is when it comes to work. Not very many people truly like work. I love my job and I love the mission of our church. But there are certainly times when I would rather be at home with my family.

What happens though, is this: because we don’t like our job or our boss or our pay, we find ways that we are being mistreated or taken advantage of or disrespected, etc. Therefore, when we’ve “had enough” we just call it quits. We walk away, and our story inevitably entails all the ways we were mistreated. Or, our attitude becomes so bad that we get let go. Either way, we are the victims.

Even though the reality may be that we didn’t do the job we were hired to do, or we just don’t like the idea of having to work to provide income for ourselves and would rather be sitting on the couch watching the Price is Right or blowing things up on our Xbox.

Contrast this mindset, with the mindset we are supposed to be living according to:

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” (2 Thes. 3:6-10)

Aside from work, there are other ways we make ourselves out to be the victim. But, aside from the ways we have actually been victimized, most of the ways we make ourselves out to be the victim boil down to our selfishness.

  • When a relationship goes bad, it’s always because of the other person.
  • When we get in an accident, it was always the other person’s fault.
  • When we are late to work, it was because of this or that – not because we got up late.
  • When we don’t pay our bills, it’s because someone took money from us who shouldn’t have.
  • When our car dies, it’s because the mechanic didn’t do this or that even though we never checked the oil.
  • If we’re overweight we sue McDonalds.
  • If we have high blood pressure we blame our parents.
  • When we don’t feel close to God, it’s the churches fault.
  • And when all else fails, we blame the government.

There are literally hundreds of ways we make ourselves out to be a victim. There are millions of excuses we make for why we can’t do something, or be the kind of person we are supposed to be.

Why does this matter?

It’s pretty simple really. When we are never to blame for our mistakes, we are always at the mercy of someone else to make us happy. We have so many reasons to be unhappy, because we have so many excuses and so much blame to push onto others.

In the end, we are the only ones who can live our lives in such a way that we improve our lives. It its not someone else’s responsibility to provide for you. It is not someone else’s responsibility to care for you. It is not someone else’s responsibility to make you happy. All that falls on your shoulders. But, as long as we are victims, we will never truly take control of the responsibility, our lives will always be at the mercy of our circumstances and we will live very unfulfilling and unsatisfying lives.

But, when you take responsibility, and especially when you start to make progress and have success because you are working to achieve it, your whole perspective on life changes. Instead of seeing mountains that can’t be moved, you get a shovel. Instead of seeing problems that can’t be solved, you start coming up with solutions. Instead of seeing a thousand road blocks, you see opportunities.

I’m not talking about some kind of positive thinking, if you dream it you can achieve it, false reality that doesn’t exist. There are limitations. You cannot live on the moon. You cannot own a unicorn. What I’m talking about is reality.

But, when you work hard, you get ahead. When you try to get out of work, you get behind. It’s pretty much that simple. Stop creating a false reality where your happiness is at the mercy of everything around you. Live intentionally and learn to make the most out of what you have.

If you would like to hear more on this topic, listen to these two talks I have given on the topic of responsibility:

http://68church.com/freeway-part-3-responsibility-ownership-and-grace/

http://68church.com/training-camp-part-7-responsibility/

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Posted on Oct 30, 2014 in Culture, Featured, Humility, Intentional Living, Pain and Suffering, repost

Why Not To Take Your Own Life

Why Not To Take Your Own Life

I haven’t wanted to say anything about this story. As a general rule, I don’t talk about issues such as these because I find that they do more to divide people than they unite us. And considering the plethora of opportunities that exist for such divisions, I haven’t said anything about a lot of them. But, when I saw the headline of this article scrolling through my Facebook feed this morning, I knew I had something I needed to say. Then when I watched Brittany Maynard’s latest video, I felt it was a necessity to speak up.

Why-not-to-take-your-own-lifeLet me preface all of my comments with this, I can’t imagine the horrible pain and suffering Brittany is going through. I would never pretend to understand how she feels. And even though my position as a pastor has afforded me the opportunity to walk with some through difficult circumstances, I have never walked through what she is walking through on a personal level. When she speaks of the suffering she experiences, the seizures, the headaches, the lack of recognition and I’m sure a plethora of other pains and turmoil she has had to endure, I can’t even begin to imagine how strong the desire for it all to end must be. And God help me and my family if we ever have to endure something this painful and tragic.

I also want to make it clear, I am not trying to stir up any controversy. I’m not trying to take advantage of a popular topic to gain popularity. I am trying to speak, what I see in the Bible as well as in the natural order of things, to be truth.

But, this morning I saw the headline: “Ore. woman postpones planned suicide, still feels well” something went off in my head. And it is to that I must speak up.

In Brittany’s most recent video, she says: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lHXH0Zb2QI)

“If all my dreams came true, I would somehow survive this.” – Brittany Maynard.

In the article on KGW.com, there is this quote: (http://www.kgw.com/story/news/local/2014/10/30/brittany-maynard-postpones-oregon-assisted-suicide/18167099/)

“I still feel good enough and I still have enough joy and I still laugh and smile with my family and friends enough that it doesn’t seem like the right time right now,” she said in a video on her website The Brittany Maynard fund.” “But it will come, because I feel myself getting sicker. It’s happening each week.”

What I fear about not speaking up is yet another area of life in the Northwest and our entire western culture, that becomes clouded by the exercising of broken people making broken rules to fix a broken world. There are so many issues that we need to address, but they have become taboo for Christians and especially pastors to talk about.

Where does it end? I know there are laws to deal with this issue, but once we take steps in this direction, it could easily become a much bigger issue than being terminally ill with a disease such as cancer. There are those who struggle with mental illness who would describe their lives with as much pain and sorry, if not more than what Brittany has endured. How can we say that Brittany’s physical pain is any more justifiable than the emotional and mental pain some people endure? There are hundreds of other qualifications that can be added to this issue that cloud the water to an inextricable level.

But, it’s not even just that. I believe that Brittany’s life is a gift. I believe that having been given the opportunity to exist, she has received a great gift from our creator. I don’t know Brittany, to know how she feels about the gift she’s been given or to know where she is on her spiritual journey. I would like to know. And, honestly, part of my hope in writing this is to get that opportunity. I am a Pastor at SixEight Church in Vancouver, WA. I would love the opportunity to discuss this with her. I maybe help her understand the gift she has. I doubt I will get that opportunity, and if I do, it seems that the ball is already rolling pretty fast down hill, but you never know.

And that’s exactly the point. You never know what’s going to happen. It is not for us to know, only for God. And only God sits outside of our lives and situations. Only God has the vantage point with which to judge when a life should begin and when a life should end. That is how He designed it. That is how he created this world to function.

Even though you are having to endure the greatest pain you have ever known, God can use that pain and adversity to shape you and those around you. Just as Brittany may not be healed of this disease and her pain may never cease, whatever pain you are dealing with may last the rest of your life. But what if God has a plan to use that pain to sharpen you into a tool He can use to accomplish great things for His Kingdom?

When you go through suffering, when you endure pain, you gain credibility – especially if you handle it well. Some of the people I admire the most are those who have suffered greatly but still honor God with their lives and thank Him for His blessings. I know someone right now who is suffering that way, and the way She is handling this adversity is speaking volumes to me and our community.

But, when you decide to end it all, you rob yourself and those around you of that opportunity. You may feel right now that there is nothing worth living for. But, can I, perhaps a total stranger, implore you to look a little harder. You may be all alone right now, but that doesn’t mean you will always be alone. And maybe God wants to use this suffering to lead you across someone else’s path. And maybe it’s that crossing of paths that will lead to your ability to endure for the long haul. And maybe you crossing their path is what gives them their reason to live.

There is so much about what’s going on in our lives that we don’t understand. There is so much we will never see from where we sit, because we are in the middle of the situation. But, just as an offensive coordinator has the ability to adjust the plays he calls because he’s sitting up in a booth where he can easily see the changes the defense is making – God sits much higher than us and has the ability to see how what we are doing right now is going to affect the lives os those around us.

Can you imagine what would happen if Brittany changed her mind? There are millions of people who know her story. But can you imagine what would happen if she decided to endure because her life is a gift? There would be millions of people who would see and want to know why. And that would give her an amazing chance to tell those people about God and why, even though it will be the hardest thing she and her family have to go through, to tell the world about how God has a purpose for every day of her life and she wants to honor Him with that.

Psalm 90:14-16 says:

14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
    that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
    for as many years as we have seen trouble.
16 May your deeds be shown to your servants,
    your splendor to their children.

May your deeds be shown to your servants. Not only does this tell us that God’s ways are higher than our ways and that we never fully understand what God is doing, but it is teaching us to make the most of every day God has given us.

Where do I see that? In Psalm 90:12:

12 Teach us to number our days,
    that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

And what about Psalm 139:16:

Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

Teach us to count the days. Teach us to make the most of every opportunity. There are so many opportunities ahead of you. No matter who you are or where you are, there are opportunities in front of you. All you have to do is start looking for them. All we have to do is to follow the example of Christ on the cross. Who endured the greatest pain and suffering so we could have the hope of eternal joy beyond our time of pain and suffering on this earth. Your life was worth so much that He gave up his own so you could walk in a redeemed and restored relationship with the creator of this universe.

To see those opportunities, we must learn to walk in humility. We do that by following in Christ’s example: (Phil 2:3-8)

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very natureGod,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

What if our purpose is not solely wrapped up in what we can get for ourselves out of this life, but instead is intricately tied to all the people around us. What if, instead of making our whole existence about ourselves, we valued those around us more than us? What if we had the same mindset as Jesus who made himself nothing, endured great pain and humiliation all for us?

Whatever turmoil you find yourself in, not matter how deeply you wish to end your life on this planet, can I encourage you to make the most of every day you’ve been given? Can I implore you to stick it out? That the life you live is a gift from the God of this universe, and to cut that life short is to cut short the purpose for which you’ve been created. You are worth so much. You have so much value to our God. He created you in His image, which means you have intrinsic dignity, worth and value.

You are amazing and you have been amazingly made. Your value is not determined by how cool you are, how many friends you have, or (even as I have argued in this post) because of the difference you can make in the lives of those around you. Are those important? Except for being cool, yes. Being cool isn’t important, that’s just dumb to worry yourself about that. Regardless of those things, you have worth and value because you are made in the image of an amazing God. All the other stuff aside, you are amazing because of whose image you are made in. And that’s reason enough to endure.

The fact that my phone just went crazy announcing an amber alert for my areas speaks to the truth of this matter. Life is important. Life has value. And when a life is in danger, we should fight like crazy to save it. Brittany’s life has value. The life of these missing children have value. The fact that murder is illegal around the globe speaks to this fact as well. Life is valuable. It’s a gift. When I think of your life, I think of it as being precious. When I think of my wife and the gift her life is to me and my family, it’s precious. When I think of my children, I think of them as being precious gifts to me and this planet. Life is a gift.

Death is a certainty for all. So it’s what we do with our lives that matters. Our lives should be about life, not death.

To quote the greatest movie of all time: “You see, George, you’ve really had a wonderful life. Don’t you see what a mistake it would be to throw it away?”

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Posted on Oct 23, 2014 in Blog, Church, Creativity, Culture, Encouragement, Fathering, Leadership, Pain and Suffering, repost

No More Cookie Cutter Pastors, No More Cookie Cutter Churches. (Why you’re not a failure even though it feels like it.)

No More Cookie Cutter Pastors, No More Cookie Cutter Churches. (Why you’re not a failure even though it feels like it.)

(Intro: This is a post I wrote in Sept of 2012, when I was fairly upset about some stuff, so I wrote this article and never published it. I just reread it and wanted to share it with you.)

Sometimes when it feels like we’ve failed at something, I think the basis of what we’re feeling is based on someone else’s imposed definition of who they think you should be – and you’re not living up to it.

You know what I’m talking about. People see a pastor at another church while they’re visiting on a weekend, and they instantly start comparing you (their pastor) to them. They notice all the little things they do that you don’t do. They notice their style and their voice. They notice all the things that make them who they are, and compare them to you.

What they don’t realize is that, they are experiencing them in a vacuum. For one, it’s not a fair, side by side comparison. It’s not like they’re in a Best Buy, looking at the TV’s where they can see the same movie on a hundred TV’s. Can you imagine that store? A hundred different worship leaders singing the same song or a hundred different pastors preaching the same sermon so you can pick the one you like best?

When they take the TV home, they begin to notice the flaws.

You’ve been there. You buy the TV, get home and realize it doesn’t have enough connections, or doesn’t look as big as you thought it did, or it looks bigger. You buy a used car, and on the way home you hear a noise you didn’t hear. You go to a new church, and then the pastor says something you don’t think is funny, he’s kind of a nerd, the worship leader is a little pitchy or sings a song you don’t like every weekend. Then they start to remember all the things they liked about their old pastor, forget all the things they didn’t like and long for the days when they were at their previous church.

I know I’ve been there before. I’ve had, in my life and ministry on a regular basis, people who judge me and how I do ministry against how they think I should be doing ministry. They have an image of what they think I should be in their head, and when I don’t live up to it, I am failing.

I’ve had people judge me against a flawed perception of themselves. They believe they are great at my job (even though they may have no training or experience) and that I should be doing my job as good as they think they could do my job.

Maybe they can do my job better, but the bottom line is, we shouldn’t judge anyone based on what we think they should be. But, you know how you work at a job for 40+ hours a week? You do this thing for 40+ hours a week that I don’t claim to know all about. There are things about your job that I don’t understand. Things that can’t be understood unless you’re in it all the time. The reverse is also true, but it’s not real PC to say. But I will. Unless you are a Pastor and you make your living pastoring a church and work in the church 7 days a week, you just don’t have an understanding of what it really means to lead a church.

The other bottom line, you shouldn’t let people judge you based on who they think you should be.

I know you can’t control them, but you can control how much you let them in your head. Don’t let their judgement of you drive you to try to be someone you’re not.

You are awesome just how God created you. The other guy they are comparing you to is awesome how God created him. When you try to be like him, you are being an imitation of a creation, not being the creation God created. When you’re trying to be someone else, that’s idolatry. We are made in God’s image, and our only pursuit can be the image the designer put in us since before we were born.

One thing I’m not saying is that we shouldn’t try to improve ourselves. But only if that improvement is based on principle and truth, not comparison. If the improvement is to keep up with someone else, or because we are under pressure from people around us to be something we’re not, we shouldn’t do it.

As we shape who we are and the people we lead, we need to build into them the ability to think and appreciate people for who they are. Don’t let your people get caught up in the comparison game. Don’t let them talk negatively about your pastor, don’t let them talk negatively about your subordinates. Teach them to learn to appreciate the good things and find ways they can step in and fill in the perceived gaps.

One final note: with the highly connected world we live in, it’s very easy to see what every other church on the planet is doing. Whether it’s worship styles or songs, programs or ministries, videos, graphics, stage designs or sermons. We need to be careful to be sure that we aren’t comparing what we do to what the rest of the world is doing. God has a plan and design for your church body, just as he as a plan and design for you.

Just as God created you uniquely, he created your church body uniquely. If he wanted us to all be the same and act the same, he would have prescribed it for us. And in the areas we do have such prescriptions, I do think we should strive to live up that prescription. However, just as each of us are unique, he wants your church body to represent him uniquely.

So, no more cookie cutter pastors, no more cookie cutter churches.

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Posted on Apr 15, 2013 in Apologetics, Pain and Suffering

The Problem of Pain and Evil

The Problem of Pain and Evil

In light of today’s tragic events, I want to take the opportunity to start a discussion on the problem of Pain and Evil in our world. As I was preparing to write this post I came across this brilliant answer to these questions from Dr. Ravi Zacharias. RZ is one of my favorite speakers of all time. He is an apologist who travels the world defending the Christian faith in secular forums. If anyone is well acquainted with the question and capable of giving an answer, it is RZ.

Here is the video:

There are a few quick points I want to draw out of his answer to the question.

“The question does not dislodge God, if anything it proves that God actually exists – otherwise value and the question disintegrates.  You don’t ask the question unless you believe in an absolute moral law and you don’t believe in an absolute moral law unless there is an absolute moral law giver. So the question is with God in the paradigm not outside the paradigm.”

The question itself, how can a good God allow Pain and evil, is one that starts from a way of thinking (paradigm) that believes in the existence of God.

“The ultimate ethic in life is love, that is the supreme ethic. There is no ethic more supreme than love. But, necessary to love is the component of the will. You cannot have love without the freedom to not love. Otherwise you have conformity, compliance, you really don’t have love. So if love is a supreme ethic and the freedom of will is indispensable to love, and the question must keep God in the paradigm…

You cannot have love without the option to choose not to love. You cannot have real love unless it’s possible for the person to choose not to love you. So, in order for God to have a creation that truly loves Him, He had to give that creation the ability to choose not to love Him.

Then what I would say is the greatest gift of God is the gift of the freedom of our will in order that we can love. But with the greatest gift comes the greatest possible calamity, when you violate that love the entailments actually follow. So both good is real and evil is real. And the human heart must be able to recognize this and choose what is good. Otherwise, you live in a world of non-concrete expressions where you can choose bad if there were no consequences.

With the greatest gift comes the greatest calamity. With something that has such potential for true love, there is also the potential for the opposite – true evil. This is the problem of evil. God didn’t want or need to create a people of robots who must follow and have no choice. He wanted to create a people who, when they chose the right love, would be a people who truly love God.

In the supreme effort of God to bring you and me to himself, he gives us the example of love. He has made us for himself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Him.

God has made us for himself, and we are not at rest until we find Him. Another way of saying this might be to say, that since God made us for himself but gave us the option to choose, we are at odds or war with God who is good until we do choose Him and His ways.

What is good? Every time we raise the problem of evil it is either raised by a person or about persons…Which means personhood is indispensable to the question. Therefore, the assumption is that the intrinsic value is not in the question but in the personhood. How can a person be of intrinsic value if time plus matter plus chance has been the cause of that person, it’s nothing more than chemistry in motion. The only way the person can be of value is if the person is the creation of somebody with infinite and intrinsic worth which means it’s God himself that needs to be able to justify our question.

The fact that we look at what other people do to other innocent people as wrong and evil – we are stating that every person has value and worth. Which begs the question, where does a person’s value come from. If they are the by-product of goo, where is the value in that? If they are the planned creation of a God who is infinite in worth, then there is value because we were created by a worthy God.

So when we talk about evil we need to realize that we are the point of God’s creation…and this is to build worth and value.

In talking about evil, it leads us to God. Just in asking the question, we argue for the existence of God because we believe that there must be worth to the people who have been harmed. In order to have a true love, God had to allow for the possibility of the opposite. It doesn’t make God evil. It doesn’t make evil any easier to deal with. In some ways, it makes it harder to deal with because we believe there is value in every life that is taken.

When you are at war with God, the things we call evil become harder to see. This is why there can be such great evil in the world. The more evil a person becomes, the further down the hole they fall, the farther they get from the truth. And as they get farther from the truth, what seems abhor able to us, seems common place and even good to them.

“The human spirit will not even begin to try to surrender self-will as long as all seems to be well with it. Now error and sin both have this property, that the deeper they are the less their victim suspects their existence; they are masked evil. Pain is unmasked, unmistakable evil; every man knows that something is wrong when he is being hurt.”
― C.S. LewisThe Problem of Pain

Feel free to chime in on this discussion. What I hope to do is to give an answer to those who are asking questions as a result of what happened today in Boston. Why do people do evil things? Because they are at war with a good God. And when you are a war with good, evil will abound.

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Posted on Jan 21, 2013 in Culture, Deliberate Living, Lost Virtues, Pain and Suffering, Values

Dr. Martin Luther King on Faith, Hope and Boldness

Dr. Martin Luther King on Faith, Hope and Boldness

Broken-escalator-Faith-Is

There are two strong themes that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about that are often overlooked for the more popular “I have a dream” related quotes we hear. However, wanted to share with you today, some quotes that relate to us in very real ways this day. The two themes are Faith/Hope  and Boldness

Faith and Hope

“Faith is taking the first step, even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

I took this picture at our airport when dropping someone off for a flight. You can see that the first first steps of the escalator would have been a bit challenging. But if you could get past them, it would be smooth escalating.

There are things we will do or attempt to do in this life that will require us to have faith. If you’re attempting anything big, especially anything that’s new and bigger than you – you’ll know that you need faith. You also know that you need hope. There has to be hope that things will get better. We may face many challenges along the way that disappoint us, but we still have to hope. 

Boldness

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”

While the issue Dr. King was speaking of has in large part been eradicated in our culture, that does not mean that there aren’t issues we need to stand up for. There amy have been issues you have faced in your life that you wish you had taken a stand for. Maybe it’s too late, but maybe not. I don’t know what it is for you, but there is always something.

There is always something we feel or believe we should be saying or fighting for, but for whatever reason we suppress those feelings because it’s uncomfortable. [tweetherder]Our lives will not be defined by our compliance,they will be defined by the stands we take.[/tweetherder]

Perhaps you can gain a little inspiration from someone who had faith and hope and was willing to take a stand for his beliefs.

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Posted on Jan 15, 2013 in Devotional Thoughts, Featured, Pain and Suffering

Magic…Fairy Dust…Hope…

Magic…Fairy Dust…Hope…

It seems we live in a world where everything is possible. And if it’s not possible yet, it will be. We use phones that have more computing power than the computers that went to the moon with the Apollo missions. We watch movies with special effects that look so real we forget they’re not. Unless you’re watching a movie on SyFy – but that’s only what I hear (clears throat). Many of the sicknesses that used to plague the world are cured with a preventative shot. A trip across the country that used to take months, then took days and now only takes hours. And perhaps most amazing of all, this huge world that used to be round is now flat.

Magic.

And yet, many of us still face situations for which there is no easy answer. There is no cure for cancer. The economy is still in the tank and many out of work. Hurricanes cannot be stopped, Earthquakes still destroy, Tsunamis roll and people kill.

Our progress has made us more impatient than ever, even when waiting for the impossible. And yet, for some things there is no advancement great enough to conquer. We would wait for centuries, but there will never be a solution.

So we dream of all the impossibilities being absolved with one simple solution. Some fairy dust we can sprinkle that will make everything better. Three wishes. The Lottery. True Love.

And perhaps, therein, the problem doth lie. (How’d you like that new world english?) We live in a world of actual impossibilities. There are things that will never happen and no amount of advancement will make the impossible – possible. We will never be able to stop a Hurricane from forming, or the earth’s crust from cracking.

We will experience pain and suffering. That’s the reality. There is no magic that can be sprinkled to protect us from it. And even if there was, the magic we dream about is only enough to save us from one situation. If only there was something greater than magic.

Hope.

Some rights reserved by Pol Sifter

Some rights reserved by Pol Sifter – Creative Commons

There are wrongs that cannot be overcome with good. Wrongs we will never understand, nor be able to explain to our kids. But there is hope.

Perhaps this is why we find Jacob hoping for salvation in Genesis and Paul hoping for a clarity yet to be seen in Corinthians. (Along with many other references for hope in between.) Hope is one of just a few universal continuities. Every one hopes.

This is the hope that we have. Hope is the real magic. Magic solves the problem for me…hope, for all mankind. Magic is temporary…hope, eternal. Magic can be undone…hope, permanent.

Hope is what we have. It does not put food on the table, money in the bank or a 401(k). But, we can hope that things will change and that there will be a day in this life where those changes take place. But, even beyond that, we have hope.

We have hope for an existence beyond now where this now we live in will make sense. We will see clearly, know fully and be completely. It may never make sense now, but we have the hope that it will. We have the hope that all injustices will be undone. We have the hope that all hurt and heartache will be gone.

Hope. There are greater things, but hope ranks in the top 3. It certainly out-ranks magic.

Where is your hope?

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