Wednesday, January 28, 2015


About 35 years ago I designed a one-time-to-be-shown television program to encourage the down-and-out.  Shall We Hope or Shall We Die? was filmed and shown as a 30-minute special locally on Tulsa's CBS-6 station at 6:30 p.m.  It was good. (Well, at least my mom thought so.)

Even today in the common walks we have we still ask, Shall we hope or shall we die?

That question is always fitting for any culture on any day.  The why of it fitting is key to our life in Christ.

No one is exempt from good days nor bad ones.  This is what makes us both strong and weak.  The secret isn't in living only for the good days.  No, the secret is in noting how the bad days also bless.

I don't like hard times.  I do not prefer lean times.  Yet, because we follow a guy who caused a grave to wonder, What in the world just happened here?, we get to participate in a new caliber of hope.  Regardless of the challenge(s), we are able to tell God thank you even at our lowest points.

Why do I have hard times?  Well one, because I'm often an idiot.  And two, because I'm a regular person. And three, I need gasping-for-hope moments so that I can be reminded of how others around me hurt...and hurt deeply.

Pain is never about us.  We usually think the opposite.  Pain is not a villain because it has been converted in Jesus.  Now, we find it to be our tool to reach others.  If we have no desire to reach others, then we will hover over our ache and utter whining, moaning words of the self-induced doctrine of poor-me-ism.

I do not like the concept of hurt.  I don't like me hurting and I don't like hurting others. Yet, the kingdom will transform the stings we endure into deeper understanding of the hurting souls around us.  The marvel of Jesus is that he could not rescue and redeem if he refused the hurting process.  That was what his key prayer time in the Garden was all about.

Shall we hope or shall we die?  For me?  Well, at times I just want to throw up my hands in give-upness.  I get weary of the incoming and outgoing injuries which abound in both directions. However, the resurrected Jesus insists that we all keep going.

As were his, our wounds are valuable blessings to others in some strange spiritual form.  When we feel insulted or neglected or betrayed, we must try to thank God for such pain.  Jesus did it.  We claim to follow him.  The rugged cross...our rugged crosses...confirm we are on the right path.

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