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Confession, Lament & Hope - Happenings 10.26.20

Updated: Nov 4, 2020

I have had the privilege of writing many Happenings in the past 2 1/2 years and have truly been grateful for your long-suffering acceptance and support. There have been times when topics came easily, other times not but always somewhere in the week God seemed to reach down to give me a bit of inspiration. It is now 10:30 p.m. on Sunday evening and I have just thrown away my latest attempt at writing something edifying, helpful and uplifting. It was not happening and thus my confession... I need a dose of Devine intervention now!

It is truly humbling to be confronted with one’s own feelings of inadequacy at a moment in time when everyone is in need of encouragement. While writing this week I tried unsuccessfully to keep my melancholy away from you, resulting from the painful observation our conflicted world. I watched words slung back and forth, fiercely inflicting pain while attacking another; I attempted denying reality while confronted with lost lives and loved ones who will go into the Holiday Season with overwhelming grief; I tried to repress an awareness of anxious fears that so many have in not knowing where their next house payment or meal will come from; and with darkness and cold upon us and winter looming, where will all the homeless find places of shelter while attempting to stay alive. Admittedly, this is not an edifying paragraph nor frankly is it even well-constructed... it is my hearts lament at this moment, and may be reflective of yours in some small degree. My question is where do I go... where do we go from here?

While writing the paragraph above, it came to mind that I should reread the beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-19 as I have just done. The beatitudes are challenging to unpack but I was reminded once again of my need for humility, to understand from where all my blessings originate and ultimately what truly matters... holding each-other up in the face of monumental challenges.

You may also wish to join me by reading Matthew 25:31-46 which I have personally just reread. This portion of Matthew makes me acutely aware of how I, as one individual, can make a difference. I may feel insignificant but with 2.6 billion Christians on our planet, we collectively can change our world. Jesus said by feeding the Hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the homeless, comforting the imprisoned, and visiting the sick, we are “doing the same to Him.”

The statement I am about to make may seem a bit contrived and lacking in credibility but I truly feel this late-night frustration has given me a tiny window into a roadmap for making my way forward... it’s called hope. While reading these scriptures (and others) I have read and heard many times, I was taken by the simplicity of my task... walk humbly, serve when presented opportunity, be grateful for blessings, and continually be aware that this is not our final stop on the journey. It also helps for me to be reminded, it is far more blessed to give than to receive. How quickly I forget to my own personal loss.

While struggling to write this week, I believe God fulfilled his promise given me in Romans 15:13. “May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” May we all “... hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful,” Hebrews 10:23.

God’s hope, love and peace,

Paul Harshner

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