Hope During Despair

March 4, 2013

Today’s Reflection

EVEN THE PEOPLE CLOSEST TO JESUS didn’t really understand him. From his disciples who saw miracles and heard parables to the well-read religious leaders who resented a self-styled messiah who seemed to flout church tradition, Jesus is constantly having to explain himself to people who should have known. They ask themselves, one another, and people who encounter him, “Who does he say he is?” “Who do you think he is?”

Neighbors and Pharisees put these questions to the man whose sight Jesus restores [see John 9:1-25.]. This man has been afflicted by a physical disability, which, in those days, was understood to be a punishment for sin. Being blind and an outcast reduces the man to begging for his daily bread. Likely, he cannot afford the luxury of engaging in theological discourse.

But when asked about Jesus, the man speaks with conviction, not from what he’d been taught or heard preached, but from his personal encounter with the living Christ. When the religious leaders try to trip him up by calling Jesus an imposter, the healed man declares, “One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”

The answer to our fears, our doubts, our hunger, our longing, our confusion is often that simple. Yoking our lives with the resurrected Savior assures us that God is working for good in our lives. God is with us in our sickness and in our healing. God tosses out a lifeline and holds on to us when we feel cast out. God speaks hope to us in times of despair. God says, “Yes, you can,” even when we can’t yet find our way.

- Disciplines 2011

From “In Plain Sight” by M. Garlinda Burton, page 104 in The Upper Room Disciplines 2011: A Book of Daily Devotions. Copyright © 2010 by Upper Room Books. All rights reserved. Used by permission. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Look for an opportunity to speak hope to someone experiencing dispair. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

On the day after the passover, on that very day, they ate the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. The manna ceased on the day they ate the produce of the land, and the Israelites no longer had manna; they ate the crops of the land of Canaan that year.

Joshua 6:12, NRSV

This Week: pray those who are too busy to pray. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.

Did You Know?

Need a Spiritual Retreat? Join us at SOULfeast, the Upper Room’s spiritual retreat at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in the beautiful Smoky Mountains, July 14-18, 2013. Come discover how, as the Holy Spirit washes over us, this powerful presence brings us alive to God, community, transformation, and missions in the here and now. For more information, visit soulfeast.upperroom.org.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember John Wesley (March 3).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2013, a ministry of GBOD | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

robert moeller March 4, 2013 at 4:39 am

Lord, I pray for me. I’m having a hard time praying, I still spend quiet time with you and the thoughts, hopes, wishes, desires of my heart are still there, I just have a hard time putting them into the words of a prayer.

Reply

Gary March 4, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Robert,
Since you say you’re having a hard time putting your prayers into words, maybe it’s time to listen. Or, maybe your need for prayer at this time is too deep for words.
May God bless

Reply

robert moeller March 5, 2013 at 5:48 am

Thank you Gary for your insight.

Reply

carol March 4, 2013 at 8:04 am

That’s me too Robert. I’ve always said “you can’t give what you haven’t got”! However, God is for us, not against us and we are still under construction and hope in Him, continues. I always love what Paul said “Oh wretched man that I am etc., etc.,”

Reply

robert moeller March 5, 2013 at 5:54 am

Yes, Carol as a believer I believe that nothing can separate us from the love of God, I also understand that we are to pray unceasingly, and yes we are all under construction till the day we are called home. Then because of Jesus we are able to stand before God saved and redeemed of our transgressions. Thank you, Jesus!

Reply

Mary Ng Shwu Ling March 10, 2013 at 12:36 am

Teaching a 12-year old girl who was overwhelmed with too much home work. Just encouraged her that those home work will help her to exercise her brain so that she will have good results at the final exams and also bought her an ice cream to cheer her up.

May God help us to encourage and cheer others along life journey.

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