Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Pastoral Pings ~ When the God of Hope Moves His People of Faith to Abound in Hope

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”[1]
          For starters, the twice stated “you” is plural, referring to the church as a unit, rather than members of the body as individuals. God has a gift of joy, peace, and hope for his church, his body, and we experience it best when we walk together the most.
          There is a way that God fulfills his promises through people so that, though we see someone do something for us, it is as a part of the body of Christ, moved by our head, doing Jesus’ will in fellowship with the Savior even as Jesus himself did all things in fellowship with his Father.[2]
          This is why Jesus would say, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.[3]The Church is only the light of the world as a branch filled with the life and light of the vine, extending the light of Christ into the world. When people see the good works that arise from our abiding in Christ, they give glory to our Father in heaven for accomplishing such wonderful things through creatures of dirt.
          Paul showed this amazing fellowship between God and his people when he expressed, “You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.”[4] Paul asked the church to pray to God on his behalf, looking for the glory that God would receive in the answers to their prayers. He wanted the experience of many people giving thanks to God for the blessing given to Paul and his fellow servants through the prayers that many believers offered to God.
          This morning I received a very blessed example of how the joy, peace, and hope God gives to his people sometimes comes only through the fellowship of his people. My day began with feelings that were hopeless, joyless, and peaceless (if there is such a word). I have learned to express these feelings to God just as freely as their opposites. I am convinced that he wants me to know him in the bad as well as the good, and am thankful for the ways I have got to know God in the valleys as well as the mountain peaks.
          However, the primary way that God responded to my cry for help this morning was through a couple of encouraging emails from my children, both expressing what God was doing in their lives, and the encouragement of my wife in facing some of the things that were “getting me down”.
          I smile as I think of this, because it is not the first time the Lord has confronted me with this lesson. Sometimes he has to withhold the thing promised until we will accept the relationships through which he will express his grace. We often want God to do his work in us in private to spare us the embarrassment of people knowing the truth about our walk with God. In such tunnel-vision experiences we don’t realize what we are missing by cutting ourselves off from sharing with the body of Christ.
          And yet, there is God’s grace and mercy giving us gifts through his body, involving his people in something they can share together, so that the body is built up, prayers are answered, God is glorified, and we grow up in love.[5]
          Not only am I thankful that the “you” is plural, and that I saw the “you” working together to experience the work of God this morning, but tonight is prayer meeting. It is one more opportunity for the body to unite to know the joy, peace, and hope God is so able and willing to give to his children. When we come together in Jesus’ name, that is.

© 2014 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

[1] Romans 15:13
[2] John 5:19
[3] Matthew 5:16
[4] II Corinthians 1:11
[5] Ephesians 4:15-16. I spoke of this in my last blog post:

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