Monday, October 15, 2018

Hope is a seed

I watched an episode of "The Good Doctor" last evening and the story depicted a mother whose statement really caught my attention. She had a son with a heart disorder, requiring a major surgery to correct all the defects. As the doctors examined and re-examined this boy, their decision was that he was beyond the help of the surgeons - his defects were too serious. They were ready to prescribe some pills and send him home. The mother's determination on behalf of her son is not unique to this mother - for she was like a dog with a bone - determined to have these doctors do something for her son and not just write him off. In one of those tense moments when the doctors stood before her saying they had no plans of doing the surgery, she says something along the line that she doesn't have much at home - she is poor from a wealth perspective; she doesn't have any type of fall-back - for this is her only alternative. The one thing she has is hope - the simple hope of a mother trusting that these doctors will be able to save her son. It was Tertullian who said that hope is patience with the lamp lit. This mother was being very patient with a group of young doctors, all intent on telling her that she had no reason to hope. Her lamp would not be put out, though!

Depend on God and keep at it because in the Lord God you have a sure thing.  (Isaiah 26:4)

There is much to be said about faith, but the greatest part of faith is hope - hope begins in the heart and it convinces the entire body and mind to follow suite. This mother wouldn't be dissuaded from her hope, for her intense love toward her son would keep that faith alive. She held on, encouraging his heart to beat - intent on seeing this little life made totally whole and fully alive through the interventions of these doctors - he last hope. None of us wants to be at the place of our 'last hope', because when hope is gone, so is our faith. Faith isn't kept alive within us because of what any man may do for us, but really because of what God can orchestrate through man on our behalf! Let that one sink in a little. God uses others to build upon and answer the longings of our hope - our faith. He isn't asking for us to trust man for the answer, but to trust him to bring the answer to us, sometimes through man and sometimes just simply by some miracle we don't fully understand. As our passage implies, dependence is a continual effort - it cannot be bypassed, nor dissuaded. We must depend like our life depends upon our dependence - because it does!

Tertullian also observed that the martyred saints of the early church - men, women, and children murdered at the hands of the Roman soldiers - had one common trait of intense faith in the God they served. Yes, they died at the hands of the Romans, but as Tertullian quickly pointed out, their blood was actually "seed" that brought forth an even stronger church! The bloodshed should have ended the growth of the faith people were placing in Christ, but instead, it acted as seed to bring forth even more hope, faith, and growth! That is the thing with faith - it isn't going to stop with us. It will multiply in the lives of those around us - because it is a 'seed'. As Christ said, it doesn't have to be a huge seed - even the tiniest hope is enough to see his hand moved in our lives. We might not think we are holding onto much at this very moment, but if we have at least a 'seed' of hope, that is sufficient in the hands of our God. Just sayin!