This week’s KLRC Words of Hope are from I Peter 3:15, which says in part, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
In this passage, Peter exhorts us to always be ready to explain to others why Jesus is the source of our hope. But then there’s that pesky “but” at the end of the verse: “BUT, do this with gentleness and respect.”
I sat across the table, listening to her tell her story. It sounded familiar.
She was asking the same questions I had so many times during what felt like a long season of singleness. Sometimes you just need to say the words out loud.
“My friend and I made a list when we were younger. All the things we wanted in a guy. And I don’t know, we kind of got burned... you know?”
I’ve heard it said that the Bible reminds us 365 times not to fear – once for every day of the year. It turns out that’s not exactly true, but the point still stands. Scripture does indeed repeatedly exhort us, “Do not fear!”
That’s all well and good, but how are we supposed to defeat fear, exactly? I mean, if I’m honest, I’ve been fearful about all sorts of things in my life. What if I don’t have enough money to feed my family this month? What if I’m not capable of meeting everyone’s expectations? What if a friend or my partner chooses to reject me? What if God won’t forgive me for my past?
There’s a moment in one of my favorite British TV series where one character ask/yells at another, “ARE YOU HAVING AN EARTHQUAKE?!” The first time I heard it, it made me laugh. That scene has been running through my mind a lot lately. It’s shifted from a funny phrase spouted off by a fictional character, to the perfect description of my emotional landscape some days.
I spend a lot of time thinking about thoughts. My thoughts -- and everybody else’s thoughts. Especially their thoughts about me. I like to convince myself that I’m good at “reading people.” Which is a fancy way of saying, “I’m pretty sure I know what you’re thinking, even though you haven’t told me in actual words.”
How often do you wish that God’s leading and direction for your life was clearer? If you’re anything like me, you feel that way most of the time!
I often find myself asking God to make his will for my life so obvious that I couldn’t possibly miss it. Something like one of those big sky banners pulled by an airplane would be ideal. I’d walk out of my house in the morning, look up, and there it is: “ANSEN, THE ANSWER TO THAT BIG DECISION YOU’RE STRUGGLING WITH IS YES. ALSO YOU LOOK GREAT TODAY. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.”
My niece and nephews gathered around me with wide eyes, waiting to see what mysterious “treat” I was about to unearth from the depths of my purse. Knowing there would be some waiting around at this family wedding, and knowing how hard waiting is for kids, I came prepared. With color changing putty. 3 sets of hands reached to take possession of the magical substance as soon as it became visible. I quickly informed them that there was enough to break it into 3 pieces and- wait for it- share. Can you hear the collective groan from kids everywhere?
I stared at the needle on the table, waiting for the doctor to come back in the room. It took a few minutes longer than I expected, so I snapped a quick photo and sent it to my boyfriend, along with an appropriate caption and wide-eyed emoji, “Soo, this is about to happen.”
I got a quick response back, “Be brave! That should help.”
The Grand Canyon is deep. The ocean is wide. We know these things in our head.
After all, we've seen the pictures! But have you actually stood at the edge of the Grand Canyon? Have you been on a boat with no land in sight? If you have, you understand that to know something in your head and to know something in your heart are two very different things.
The events that occurred in Parkland, Florida on Valentine’s Day reminded us of the darkness that permeates the world we live in. As we survey the landscape of our nation, it would be easy to despair – because darkness is a frightening thing indeed.