Out of the Dark

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For those who celebrate Advent, this week kicks off our season of prayer and reflection with the theme of Hope. Of course, that is appropriate, because Hope is the first, and last tool that we need in our arsenal as we live this life. It flows freely when things are good—so freely that we don’t really realize it’s there. But enter pain, or disappointment, or rejection, or failure……and that beautiful, precious commodity starts eking out, bit by bit, until at last it can be gone entirely. And let me tell you, when Hope is gone, things get dark.

Last year I wrote a blog on this theme entitled “The Light of Earnedil,” which holds some of my best thoughts on the subject. That blog can apply to anyone. Today I’d like to more specially address us leaders.

See, Hopelessness is especially dangerous for us, because it not only eats away at our faith, courage, and passion, it does the same for those who follow. Sure, we all have seasons where we go through hard times and need to heal or get into a healthy place. But it is possible to actually find ourselves living in Hopelessness: that dark, gloomy town where nothing seems possible—or at least probable—and God’s power has moved on to somewhere else……..somewhere where the pastor really knows what she’s doing, or where a leader has a truly exceptional, loyal team, or where money isn’t an issue, or where God has just decided His power and favor will flow………But not here. In this place, we just quietly plod along, intent on not rocking the boat very much so we don’t get blasted again.

It’s a terrible place to live, but especially for a leader. Because we turn around and look behind us and see that people are following us. Because we stopped believing, so did they. Because we are afraid to dream, they don’t know how to either. They are looking to see which way we will go.

Let’s not lead them to Hopelessness.

I heard a preacher say once that wherever there is Hopelessness in our lives, in that area we are believing a lie. So I ask you today, is there any area in your life where you are feeling Hopeless? Some place where you have believed extravagantly before but find it difficult to do so now, because you have been disappointed so many times? Hey, I’ve been there too. Your hurt or skepticism or hardness may be quite justifiable in human terms. But in terms of what God can do—which is where we place our Hope, after all—it is a lie.

Now what is the truth that needs to replace that lie? Write it down, pray over it, declare, it, believe it. Dare to take a step away from that sad, dreary place of Hopelessness and come into the warm light. Come back to the place where God is who He says He is, and He can do anything. Come out of the dark.

As we find ourselves coming back to Hope, we will look behind us and find that others are waking up to it as well. That our entire church or community has somehow been lit anew, and is glowing with that beautiful light of Hope, that first and last tool in our arsenal that can pull us out of anything.

If you have any sense of Hopelessness this week, ask the Lord where those lies are and root them out. Because you are a powerful, faithful leader. And people need you.

 

Loving God, as we enter this Advent season,
We open all the dark places in our lives and memories to the healing light of Christ.
Show us the creative power of hope.
Prepare our hearts to be transformed by you,
That we may walk in the light of Christ.

We take time, in the busyness of this season, for quiet reflection—
For the light of God’s love is discernible everywhere.
We will let ourselves be surprised by wonder,
And set aside time to offer quiet thanks.
The good news of Advent is this:
Christ is coming. Christ is always coming.
Amen.

 

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