Friday, October 30, 2009

Surprised by...Hope

It is one of the great mysteries to me that God can continue to surprise us with His mercy and grace. You would think that we would anticipate it given His history of generosity and perfect timing. I find myself wishing I wasn't so daft as to always only recognize His mercy after-the-fact. It seems a lack of faith somehow.

Crazy, I know.

Then I start thinking. Perhaps the surprise is part of the grace. Maybe God allows us to be surprised at the depths of his mercy because it makes the experience of it sweeter. The surprise of it all is a grace in itself. God is just that creative.

I had one of these moments at church one recent Sunday. I was sitting in our usual church service just listening to the choir sing when it happened. They began a beautiful song that seemed vaguely familiar to me. I checked the bulletin and saw it was a song by Chris Tomlin. The arrangement was so different that I almost didn't recognize it at all. As they sang it seemed I was really hearing the song for the very first time.

The song was Jesus Messiah. A beautiful song no matter how you arrange it. But this morning was different. I heard something new, something I needed to hear. One little phrase, "All our hope is in you..." really resonated with me as I sat there. Immediately I thought to myself, "No it isn't. My hope is not in You right now, God." My hope has been...well, absent and most certainly not in God lately. As a result, I have found myself discouraged, defeated, and frustrated.

This little surprise encounter with the Almighty (I know, we should always expect to encounter Him...especially in church!) did wonders for my heart, mind, and soul. God spoke to me through a song I've heard a thousand times and surprised me with a personal message. My hope had been misplaced...maybe almost non-existent. I knew it then, but really admitted it to myself that morning in the pew.

I really believe that the great sin is not any of the countless issues we hear Christians talk about in the public forum. No, the real sin is unbelief. Abandoning hope. Refusing to trust God. Forgetting our history and who God is. That is the real sin.

And it is just like our amazing God to convict us of it in such a tender way as through a song or a passage of Scripture. "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him" that is really all He asks of us. All He wants is for us to remember that He has proved steadfast and sure and to place our trust, our hope in Him.

So, my surprise wasn't really a surprise really. But, then, holy surprises never really are. They are more like moments of truth, of remembrance, that somehow refresh our perspective. They remind us Who God is and how much He loves us. God is good like that.

{Jesus Messiah is on Chris Tomlin's album Hello Love. You real should buy it or download it or whatever it is you do. Or maybe ask for it for Christmas? :)}


Clay said...


Thank you so much for sharing.
I agree 100%. This really resonates.

Thank you. May God give us a holy expectancy, an awareness of His closeness, goodness, and power!

I haven't read your blog (or any blog) for quite a while, and it was a true pleasure to find such wisdom and encouragement. Beautiful. Thanks.

Julie said...

Great to "hear" from you, my blogging friend. Glad that this post resonated with you, as your words so often do with me. Thanks for stopping by again!