Hope

By Teresa Zehr

Teresa Zehr

This last winter my eyes have been continually drawn to a birds nest sitting in the tree in front of our house.  I notice it as I sit in the living room, or when I am gazing out the window while sitting at my desk.  I began to wonder why I was so fascinated with this empty, lonely looking birds nest. It occurred to me that it is a symbol of hope.  It sits waiting for the birds to return, to once again be a safe home, hidden by the leaves.  It reminds me of the promise of spring, when the birds, leaves and flowers (not to mention warmer temperatures!) will return again and bring a newness to our world. And it promises joy and sounds of birds singing with reckless abandon.

As Christ followers, our hope comes from something much deeper than ourselves or a simple birds nest.  It comes from Christ who is within us.  My mind goes to the old Hymn “On Christ the Solid Rock I stand” which pretty much says it all, and much more elegantly than I ever could!

“My Hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus love and righteousness…”

And the second verse “When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace…”

If you have an extra few minutes today, I encourage you to listen to the song, my favourite is the Mike Janzen version from his Little Trinity album.  Simple, soulful and heart warming!

You can listen to the song in iTunes or on youtube : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5ItzSpzI-c

What are your thoughts? Where do you find hope these days?  What gets you through when darkness and cold winds blow into your life?

Worry or Trust

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This week I spent some time reflecting on Lent and what I wanted to give up. I didn’t feel like I wanted to give up chocolate or coffee this year, but rather wanted to change a thought pattern that I have. How could this be a meaningful process that I could fully engage in?

As I was praying about it on Wednesday morning, I sensed God saying, “Why not give up worry? Why not practice trading your worries for your trust?” and I replied, “hmm… why not?” So I did.

It turned out that I had an opportunity to practice that almost right away. (I love how God does things like that, to remind us of the deal we just made!) Earlier that morning I had been woken up by Jeremy shaking me out of a deep cozy sleep saying, “Were you wanting to get up now? Because your alarm is ringing in the living room…” Right. That should have been my first heads up about the kind of day it would be, and that maybe staying in bed would be the better option. About five minutes after that, Jeremy left for work only to come back into the house a minute later to announce, “The car won’t start.” We agreed that I would call CAA and get them to come and boost it, and then all should be fine.

I reminded myself to trust God with this issue. I decided instead to put my thoughts and energy into completing a work presentation I was doing for the next day. Not worrying about what it would take to get the car going, what the cost would be, or if Jeremy would be upset with me about. And with that trust, I was given peace and was able to concentrate really well on my tasks at hand. The presentation came together fantastically, and I felt quite good about it.

Later in the day after consultation with my neighbor (who dropped what he was doing just to look at my car), the tow truck driver and the handy mechanics at Canadian Tire, it became apparent that the issue was the starter (read: pricey fix) and it was due to something I had done while driving earlier in the week. Enter in the guilt, self-loathing, and regret. It was hard to give myself grace on this one and let it go. How could I choose not to worry, but trust instead?

I decided to look for all the things I was grateful for. Allowing the rays of sunshine to push through the dark storm clouds all around me. Before I knew it, my list was getting quite long. I was grateful for not being stranded when my car stopped working. I was grateful for our neighbor who was willing to help me and a meeting that was cancelled which gave me time to deal with all the car issues. Most of all, I was grateful for my husband who not only wasn’t angry with me, but had brought me some chocolate home from work as a special treat!

When I looked back at the end of the day, I realized, how much easier it was to go through all of the car drama without worrying. Either way it would have ended the same; the car would need to get fixed, which happened by the end of the day. In fact, practicing gratitude and the act of trust I experienced encouraged Jeremy and brought light and meaning into his day as well.

When we choose to worry about things we end up taking precious energy that we could use for something more beneficial (like my project) and only manage to stress ourselves out more. I guess Jesus knew what he was talking about when he tells us not to worry!

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:31-34 (NLT)

What do you find yourself worrying about needlessly? What has been an effective way for you to stop the cycle of worry, and begin to trust? How are ways you can practice gratitude or trust instead of worrying?