Hope sometimes disappoints

The theme for Advent this year is Coming Home for Christmas and trying to capture all of the emotions that come with that process. We began our series off by talking about the excitement (and stress) that comes with holiday traveling. However, a lot of the excitement we have for traveling is conditional on hope. We hope it will be fun. We hope there won't be any delays. We hope there won't conflicts. Sometimes hope disappoints us and expectations are not met.


My sister, Chelsea, lives and works in Nashville, Tennessee. Chelsea also happens to have a number of pre-existing conditions, allergens, and other medical problems that has made the last 20 months exceptionally stressful for her. As a result we or her Dad's side of the family have not seen such of Chel outside of teleconferencing with her. Chelsea only gets to see her Dad once a year at thanksgiving. However, those plans did not go as intended as a friend she had over her house the weekend before tested positive for COVID. As an act of grace, Chelsea canceled plans and remained home while she awaited her test results. (Good news - she was negative.)


There is not much worse than when plans go awry - especially around vacations - which are rare and meaningful for overworked people. A bad fight with a loved one, a lost credit card, or a gross hotel can spoil the rest of what would have been a fun event. That poor taste in our mouth can make it difficult to look forward to the next vacation and thus creates a negative cycle that spiral to hopelessness.


But we are people of God, children of the light, clothed in faith, hope, and love. We cannot allow ourselves to walk down the path of hopelessness. If we find ourselves with no more hope to give, what then do we do? We trust. We trust in ourselves, our loved ones, and our God who promises to be with us in all occasions.


It reminds me of the story of Moses leading the people to the promised land. After a crucial mistake in leadership and among the people regarding idol worship God tells Moses that he will never experience the promised land himself, but that his descendents will. Talk about disappointment and hopelessness! While Moses might not have had hope, he had trust in God's promises and God's deliverance. That trust led Moses to appoint Joshua would eventually take people to the promised land.


Allow me to share a story about my wife McKinsie. McKinsie has known since she was a child that she would someday work in the animal medicine field. As she grew older and encountered hardships with schooling and opportunities she started to doubt that belief until eventually she was hopeless it would ever work. She grew depressed, isolated, and lost in her desire for a vocation. For her birthday that year I bought her scrubs and wrote a note saying "When all else fails trust your heart. You'll get there." That was in July of 2018.


About a month ago McKinsie got a call from a state of the art animal hospital in Akron (from seemingly out of nowhere) and was asked to apply. She got the job and now works in the surgery wing as a vet assistant. The morning of her first day I laid out the scrubs on the bed again with the note still packaged in the bag. After she came down wearing them for her first official day we both got a little weepy eyed, hugged one another, and she was on her way to rekindle her personal hope and give hope to scared pet owners.


We will undeniably face disappointments and heartbreak when it comes to hope. When it seems as if hope has left for good stay faithful that God will deliver you to your promised land. He always does. Thanks be to God. Amen and amen.


 

Scripture that Inspired this Blog


Numbers 20


Water From the Rock


20 In the first month the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried.

Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. They quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the Lord! Why did you bring the Lord’s community into this wilderness, that we and our livestock should die here? Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!” Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the tent of meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them.


The Lord said to Moses, “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as he commanded him. He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.

But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”

These were the waters of Meribah, where the Israelites quarreled with the Lord and where he was proved holy among them.


 

Praying with Praise


A few of you mentioned you really enjoyed the last song we shared from Maverick City so here's another! Not only is this an absolute jam, the lyrics are pretty strong and provide great imagery from the Bible too! Hope you enjoy. :)


Lyrics beneath the video, by the way.


Faithful through the ages


God of Abraham

You're the God of covenant

And of faithful promises

Time and time again

You have proven

You'll do just what You said


Though the storms may come and the winds may blow

I'll remain steadfast

And let my heart learn, when You speak a word

It will come to pass


Great is Your faithfulness to me

Great is Your faithfulness to me

From the rising sun to the setting same, I will praise Your name

Great is Your faithfulness to me


When the seasons change

You remain the same


God from age to age

Though the earth may pass away

Your word remains the same, yea-eah

Your history can prove

There's nothing You can't do

You're faithful and true


Though the storms may come and the winds may blow

I'll remain steadfast

And let my heart learn, when You speak a word

It will come to pass


Great is Your faithfulness to me

Great is Your faithfulness to me

From the rising sun to the setting same, I will praise Your name

Great is Your faithfulness to me


Your faithfulness, it never runs out

It never runs out

Oh-oh, Your faithfulness

It never runs out (It never runs out)

It never runs out (It never runs out)


I put my faith in Jesus

My anchor to the ground

My hope and firm foundation

He'll never let me down

I put my faith in Jesus

My anchor to the ground

My hope and firm foundation (My hope and firm foundation)

He'll never let me down (He'll never let me down)

I put my faith in Jesus (Yes, I do)

My anchor to the ground

My hope and firm foundation (My hope and firm foundation)

He'll never let me down (He'll never let me down, never let me down)

I put my faith in Jesus (I put my faith in Jesus)

My anchor to the ground (My anchor to the ground)

My hope and firm foundation (He's my hope, my only hope, my only hope)

He'll never let me down (He'll never let me down)

He'll never let me down


Great is Your faithfulness to me

Great is Your faithfulness to me

From the rising sun to the setting same, I will praise Your name

In every season, great is Your faithfulness to me


I put my faith in Jesus

My anchor to the ground

My hope and firm foundation (He's my hope)

He'll never let me down (And He'll never let me down)

I put my faith in Jesus (I put my faith)

My anchor to the ground (My anchor)

My hope and firm foundation (He's my hope)

He'll never let me down (Never let me down)

I put my faith in Jesus

My anchor to the ground (My anchor to the ground)

My hope and firm foundation (My hope and)

He'll never let me down (Never let me down, never let me)

I put my faith in Jesus (I put my faith in Jesus)

My anchor to the ground (My anchor to the ground)

My hope and firm foundation (He's my hope and firm foundation)

He'll never let me down (He'll never let me down)

He'll never let me down (He'll never let me down)


Great is Your faithfulness to me

In every season, great is Your faithfulness to me

From the rising sun to the setting same, I will praise Your name

From the rising sun to the setting same, I will praise Your name

From the rising sun to the setting same, I will praise Your name


Let it go up and let it go down

I'll still bless You, I'll still praise You

From the rising sun to the setting same, I will praise Your name

Let it go up, then let it go down

And I'll still bless You, I'll still bless You

From the rising sun to the setting same, I will praise Your name

Let it go up, then let it come down

And I'll still bless You, I'll still bless You

From the rising sun to the setting same, I will praise Your name

I'll still bless You, I'll still bless You

I'll still bless You, great is

From the rising sun to the setting same, I will praise Your name


Great is Your faithfulness to me (I'll still bless You)

Great is Your faithfulness to me (I'll still bless You)

From the rising sun to the setting same, I will praise Your name (I'll still bless You, I'll still bless You)

Great is Your faithfulness to me (I'll still bless You, I'll still bless You)


Yes, I'll still bless You

In the middle of the storm, in the middle of my trial

I'll still bless You

In the middle of the road, when I don't know where to go

I'll still bless You

In the middle of my storm, in the middle of my trial

I'll still bless You

When I'm in the middle of the road and I don't know which way to go

I'll still (I'll still bless You)

I'll still bless You

I'll still bless You (I'll still bless You)

I've got a reason to bless You, yeah

I've got a reason to bless You (I'll still bless You)

I've got a reason to bless Your name

You've been faithful, You've been faithful (I'll still bless You)

You've been so good to me, You've been so good

You've been so good to me

Let this place be filled with Your praise

Be filled with Your praise

We bless Your name

I'll still bless You, oh-oh-oh

I'll still bless You, oh-oh-oh

I'll still bless You, oh-oh-oh

I'll still bless You

Great is Your faithfulness


Great is Your faithfulness to me

Great is Your faithfulness to me

From the rising sun to the setting same, I will praise Your name

From the rising sun to the setting same, I will praise Your name

From the rising sun to the setting same, I will praise Your name

Great is Your faithfulness to me





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Hello friends - bit of business up front and then we’ll dive into the topic for the day. My final day at Chagrin Falls is Easter Sunday and the blogs will be suspended after that. Thus, the final blog