Thursday, May 22, 2014

Set Your Hope Fully

He has also set eternity in the human heart…  Ecclesiastes 3:11

“There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven but more often I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else.”  C. S. Lewis

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope fully on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.  1 Peter 3:11

What are you hoping for today?  Our hopes and desires tell more about us than we realize.  The reality is that we were created with eternity implanted within us and will never be fully satisfied with anything less.  But, oh, how we try!

My magazine subscriptions, the movies I enjoy, the sports I engage in, other works of art that enrapture me, whether they be concerts (U2 360 tour still stands out as the single most sensational concert I ever attended), theatrical productions (Why have I seen Les Miserables 5 times on 5 different stages?) or great literature -- are these not just reverberations of an inner desire for something beyond the here and now?

Recently, while in 1 Peter, I was struck by the biblical directive to align my hope fully, (completely) on the eminent return of Christ and His coming kingdom. In endeavoring to do so, I have discovered that my longings, my lesser hopes, my continual living with “partial” satisfaction has a context.  The satisfaction I was created for isn’t found in this world.

Before you email and recommend medicine for me, let me assure you that I am content and actually extremely satisfied.  Yes, this year has brought me some formidable challenges.  However, I have also experienced a richness and joy at times where honestly, I felt as if I couldn’t contain myself. My “partial” isn’t about depression.  It is about an underlying deep sense of being an expatriate on this planet.

Instead of feeling strange or being surprised by such a perspective, I am learning to embrace it as my new normal.  While I plan on experiencing more thrills in my life and living abundantly, I also find myself reorienting my hopes towards eternity; an experience Jesus called the renewal of all things! (Matthew 19:28)

At the end of the book of Revelation, which is the end of the entire Bible narrative, the church is longing for and praying for the return of Jesus: "The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' " (Revelation 22:17) Note the exclamation point. As in, "Please come! Come now! We want you to come!" This isn't a preoccupation with dying. This is hopeful, eager expectation of every dream we’ve ever had coming true. This is the expectation of life coming to us in all its fullness. Not to mention our Jesus coming to us. And never ever living with the “partial” again.

This weekend we will look at an experience every follower of Jesus will encounter but shockingly so few are ready for! Read up in 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 to prepare for our time together. And in case you missed this past weekend, the PCC Annual Report for our fiscal year, which closes at the end of this month, can be accessed here. I long for every person associated with PCC to read this Annual Report.

I love being your Pastor!