Losing Hope

November 17, 2019

Did you ever just want to throw your hands up in the air and say, “I’m done.  I have had enough!’?  Have you watched too much news, read too many twitter posts and just grown numb?  With everything happening in the world, with the violence, with the issues in a society without a moral compass, it is easy to lose hope.  In the Gospel Jesus says there will be famines and earthquakes, there will also be persecutions and imprisonment and families will break down.  All of this seems to be happening now.  Yet Jesus says our strength is in the name of the Lord and it is by perseverance we will secure our lives.  While that is awesome news, how do we get there?  How do we do that?

It saddens me deeply to see all that is taking place in our country and in our world.  I am aware of such tragic pain.  The resilience can only come from the Lord and that is why Jesus told His disciples and is telling us now to persevere.  This is a choice.  I am always amazed at the stories of triumph that come from God; the stories of when ordinary people do extraordinary things.  Their strength comes from the Lord.  How do we make His strength our strength?  That is at the core of perseverance.  To do this we have to be very focused and conscience of our calling.  At Baptism we received the calling to be a child of God, a beloved son or a beloved daughter.  At that moment when we were claimed by God His strength became our strength.  But through our sin, through our lack of concentration, through our lack of deepening our belief, we sometimes weaken our original strength.  When we realize our lives were meant for union with God, a present sacrifice, a present pain can become less severe.  I realize it sounds so simple.  There has to be more.  His strength is to be our strength.  It is possible, it is God’s desire for us.  But strength comes in a different way.  It is a strength that comes from mercy and forgiveness.  It’s a strength that comes from acceptance and understanding.  This strength is most complete on the cross, where the act of surrender to the will of the Father brings Jesus to acceptance.

When I was young and didn’t like how things were going, I would often hear someone say, “offer it up.”  I did not understand this.  I just saw it as not getting my way.  But now I enter that invitation differently.  To offer it up, is to surrender.  To surrender it to say to the world this stuff of our society does not have ultimate power in my life.  His strength is our strength.  Perseverance comes from a strength that begins with surrender to an almighty God.  May we be strong in this way.

Reverend  John J. Ouper