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About 35 years ago the pastor of my church (Rev.Lloyd Applegate) and his wife Joanne, made a trip to Israel. They brought back with them a small gift for everyone in the congregation. The gift was a simple cross made of olive wood from the Garden of Gethsemane. Before I received that gift, I never wore a cross of any kind. After I received that cross it I began to wear it regularly. At first I saw it as a non-verbal way of letting people know, and reminding myself, that I was a Christian – a follower of Jesus. The presence of the cross on my person was a reminder of the presence of God in my life.
Over the years I acquired a number of additional crosses. These were more elaborate than an old wooden cross. I usually wore these to church and church related meetings and activities. However, whenever I was engaged in the ordinary routines of life out in the world I always wore that old wooden cross. Until about a year ago. It wasn’t that I made a decision to stop wearing that cross. The reason was that I lost the cross.
Now, I’m not an absent minded person who is always misplacing and losing things. Nevertheless, there are times when I can’t find something I was only recently using. I know where that item is supposed to be, but it isn’t there. So I begin a search, tracing my steps from when I last used that item to the present. All during my search I am hoping that I will find the missing item. And my hope is usually fulfilled. I do find the missing item.
As I said, about a year ago, I lost my old wooden cross. It wasn’t where it was supposed to be. I went through my search process, more thoroughly than ever. I looked in pants pockets, on and under furniture, in desk dawers, in my car, and anywhere it could possibly be. I thought that since this cross was a symbol of my faith in God, that God would surely assure that I would find it. But after a day or two of searching I finally accepted that it was forever lost. Maybe I lost it outside somewhere when I was out shopping.
A few years before the loss of the cross, when Patty and I started publishing this blog, we decided the basic theme would be HOPE. One of the principles I began promoting was that if you hope for something, and it is something that is in accordance with God’s will, then God will be sure to fulfill that hope. If it is not in accordance with God’s will, then what you are hoping for might turn out to be just wishful thinking. It began to look to me like my hope of finding that lost cross was in fact just wishful thinking. That was the bad news.
Here’s the good news. Yesterday, after comng home from church, I changed my clothes. The clothes I took off were fairly new. Purchased within the last six to nine months. The clothes I put on were plain old wear around the house clothes, which I had been wearing most of the previous week. After I put on those old clothes again, I happened to look toward the floor, under my office chair. I noticed something on the floor. I bent over and picked it up. What was it? The old wooden cross, missing and presumed totally lost a year ago. How did it turn up a year later after all my searching? Where could it have come from, since the pockets of my old clothes had been emptied out night after night the previous week. And my new clothes didn’t exist when the cross was originally “lost”. Nevertheless, my hope of finding this cross was fulfilled.
Then I remembered my principle of hope, “ if you hope for something, and what you are hoping for is in accordance with God’s will, then God will be sure to fulfill that hope. I also remembered that there was a bit more to that principle, “… God will assure that your hope is fulfilled, in a God’s time and God’s way.” I have no idea why God waited a year to fulfill my hope of finding that cross. I have no idea why God fulfilled that hope while I was involved in the routine of changing clothes, rather than during my thorough search for the cross a year ago. Maybe God was telling me that my principle of hope was not my principle, but God’s principle. , “if you are hoping for something, and that hope is in accordance with God’s will, then God will assure that your hope is fulfilled, in God’s time and God’s way”. Maybe God was assuring me that you can always trust him to fulfill all of his principles, which can be discerned from the Bible.
Grace and peace, Ray
Thanks for your attention. We look forward to hearing your comments about our web-site. We also invite you to send us stories of your experiences and observations of present hopes and hope fulfilled, so we can spread them around the world via this web-site. This is one way we can all join together to help keep hope alive.
May God be with you,
Patty Perez and Ray Gough