SERMON

Hope for Every Day

She had missed the point. Now she was ostracized; she knew it and acted as such. Inside she felt rather empty. Broken relationships had crushed her sense of belonging and her picture

of love was quite fractured.



His success in life had been

enormous, but was torn down by a number of catastrophes over an extremely short

time. Here he was. His so called ‘friends’ asked him what his hidden sins were,

and his wife told him to curse God and die.



It is, however, not enough for a steward of hope to visit these texts and share the stories. We need to internalize them and in turn, share our own story.

What hope would you give her if

you met her? What hope would you bring him? Maybe you have experienced

something like it. Or maybe you know some who have. These stories are from real

life, written in the Bible. They are outstanding in their hopelessness, but

these themes are also repeated again and again throughout history. Many lead

lives of hopelessness.



These stories are deep because

they also bring hope. The woman at the well, in John chapter 4, met Jesus and

that changed her life into a life filled with meaning and hope.

Job met God at a deeper level and that changed his life.



It is, however, not enough for

a steward of hope to visit these texts and share the stories. We need to

internalize them and in turn, share our own story. Then we will be sharing real hope—a hope that changes us and

others as well—a hope that will bring new life. Without even thinking about it,

we will be a steward of hope. Hope will have become a part of who we are. Hope is not something reserved for

times of crisis. As can be seen in

the stories of Job and the woman at the well, hope can fill every day.



The Story of

Job

In the book of Job we are

allowed to look behind the scenes,

There we can clearly see that Satan has set out to harass Job. The

supporters of Job, however, reason that Job’s misfortune has come because there

is sin in his life. With this perspective it is only

natural to believe that God is required to punish him. To make matters worse, his wife sees no

point in serving a God who treats him like that. Job himself says, however, that sin in his life is not the

cause for his calamities. He claims that he still has a relationship with his

merciful redeemer, but he still asks God why this is happening (Job 1:6-12;

4:7-8; 2:9; 19:3-4.25-27; 23:3-5).

I find the spiritual highlight

in chapter 38-42, where God talks to Job and Job gives his response: “. . . now

my eyes see you (Job 42:5),” and this is said by a man who already knows God.

The Lord’s speech has touched something very deep inside Job. He now sees God in a way he had never seen Him before, and with a

feeling of connection to the Lord he had never felt before. Job also confirms

his understanding of God: “I know that you can do everything” (Job 42:2).



“Then the Lord answered Job,”

but God didn’t tell him about Satan’s part in the drama. He didn’t answer Job’s ‘why’ question. No, the Lord answered Job in a completely different way.

What is it precisely that the

Lord told Job? In Job 38:1, we find: “Then the Lord answered Job,” but God didn’t tell him about Satan’s part

in the drama. He didn’t answer Job’s ‘why’ question. No, the Lord answered Job

in a completely different way.



God Reveals

Himself to Job

God answered Job by revealing

Himself to Job. Through descriptions of scenes in nature, God reveals to Job

His might, His creative power, His wisdom, and how He is in control and able to set the boundaries in

this world. Job’s confidence in

God is renewed. His trust is deepened—deeper than it has ever been. All Job can

do is exclaim: “But now my eye sees you.”



The Woman at

the Well

The woman from Sychar came to

Jacobs’s well in the middle of the day, a time when nobody else went. She could

go unnoticed at the hottest time of the day and avoid meeting the judgemental glances and questions that no doubt would greet

her. Because of her lifestyle she might not have liked herself but meeting

Jesus changed all of that.. In one short conversation, she was taken from

slavery to freedom from feeling

condemned to being a new person. This was a wonderful transition process and we can learn much from the account

in John 4:4-42.



First of all, Jesus showed her

respect. As a Jew, He might not have liked her for being a Samaritan, and as a

man, He might not have had much consideration for her as a woman, but He

regarded her as something of value, by asking a favor of her: “Give Me a

drink,” He said. Secondly, He

broadened her perspective by offering her a remedy, she was really in need

of—“living water”, and He leads her to “thirst” for it. Thirdly, when she asks

for the remedy, he goes straight to her point of slavery: Men, too many men in

her life. Maybe this was not her first issue, but it does point to her chain of unhealthy life-patterns which are

keeping her enslaved. Finally, when she turns religious, Jesus corrects her

prejudice and tells her where she needs to change: “Salvation comes from the

Jews,” He says, revealing Himself to her as the Messiah, the Savior, the One

coming to fulfill all the promises she knew, and the only One able to supply

that Living Water.



Divine Revelation

Again we find that God answers

human questions by revealing Himself to us: Who He is, and what He is like. He

also reveals what is in us, and what we need to change.



My Testimony

The perspectives found in these

stories have changed my way of thinking about God, and this has increased my

sense of hope in everyday life. I

have more confidence in Jesus. I trust Him more. It is easier for me to allow Him to be God. I no longer need to know everything. It is more important for me to know Him.



When He reveals Himself,

I know that He is there. I know that He is in control.

I know my other issues will be sorted out in His perfect way. That is where

I find hope for every day. It is then that

I am filled with hope. My trust is now

in Him!

In my spiritual life, my desire

is first and foremost for God to reveal Himself to me. I can set at rest my

eagerness for His answers, His guidance, His solving my issues because of this

one thing: When He reveals Himself, I know that He is there. I know that He is in control. I know my other issues will be sorted

out in His perfect way. That is where I find hope for every day. It is then that I am filled with hope.

My trust is now in Him!



Secondly, I know that behind

all that He does is His purpose to show me that He loves me. I pray for a

recognition of His love. When I sense this reality, I’m filled by His loving

presence. With that realization I can handle anything. Nothing, then, is too big for me for I am filled by

God’s love and all that it represents.



Thirdly, I surrender my bruises

to Him. I allow Him to touch the sore parts of my life, so that I will be

healed. Doing so can be painful. Like the woman at the well, I often like to

hide my hurts rather than placing them where He can heal them. When He does I am set free—really free.



Lastly, I open my mind so I can

listen to His explanations, His theology and His ways. I want the Jesus He is,

not the ‘Jesus’ I create.



Practicing

Hope

By applying this biblical

pattern of searching for answers and then finding more of the fullness of God

as did Job and the woman at the well, then hope, love, peace and satisfaction

fill my heart. It seems He has plenty to share because He continues to fill me

more and more with revelations of His love.



I have learned that one way of incorporating these

principles into my life is by prayerfully writing down on paper my reflections

about these stories and by addressing them directly to Jesus. I ask Jesus to

unfold His Word to me in the process. I reflect over a single sentence or a few

sentences at a time. This allows Him to fill me with hope and love as I go through each text. I am confident you

will find the blessings I have found. His love will shine through you. You will

carry the hope He inspires in your own life. It will be a blessing to others as you share this hope.



Line Nielsen
Line Nielsen is a consultant working in support of the operation of the

city council in Odense, Denmark. She loves being an everyday Christian, and the

Lord is providing her with many opportunities for witnessing. She is married to

Jan. They have no children but she is very involved with the church family.

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