Hope & Hard

Simon Peter greeted me this morning at my Entebbe Hotel, and we had an uneventful (a good thing) 6 hour drive from Entebbe to Mbale, where I am now settled into Mt. Elgon Hotel, my home away from home for the next 6 days.

Life for most is hard here. You see it all around you - bicycles, motorcycles as beasts of burden, even persons' heads used to haul bowls of fruits or bags of charcoal. I saw planks of wood piled onto a bike sideways, and 10 wooden stools strapped onto a bicycle. I also saw several 25 foot lengths of metal pipe tied to a motorbike. Others push heavy, weary wheelbarrows. I passed a cute five year old girl who was carrying her own hoe for gardening - a thick chunk of wood with a flat metal angle on the end of the wood. Life for most is hard here.

Help is something you also see as older siblings guide their younger brothers or sisters by the hand walking along the roadside.

Hope - without it people give up (literally). Simon Peter told me stories of suicides from loss of hope. Others who lose hope turn to self-centeredness as a means of survival, lying and corruption being two regular evidences. Simon Peter, my driver, was struck by a car and knocked down on the shoulder of the road. The driver feared Simon might report him to the police, so he attempted to run over Simon Peter, to kill him. Over the next few weeks the driver made several attempts to kill Simon Peter. The driver had sunk to merely surviving. Without hope the world becomes a very small place, as Billy Graham once noted, "The smallest package I ever saw was a man totally wrapped up in himself."

If like me you read through 1 Peter, you will probably be struck that "hope" and "hard" go together in this life. Peter points us to our "living hope" - Jesus alive from death. He urges us to be people who trust Jesus enough to hold onto our hope even during life's suffering and difficulties. This life is not all there is to "life." So many Africans understand and live with this hope amidst their hard lives. They are examples of trusting in the Lord and of believing that in the end, beyond this earthly life, the Lord is the living hope that will not fail them.

Hope and hard - together. Perhaps it is the Lord's way of testing how serious we are when we tell Him we trust Him. It takes no faith to trust the Lord when all is going well. But when life is hard, our roots of faith are tapped.

Bless you for helping those I will be training here through prayers and financial contributions. Many of you are giving help in a variety of personal ways - sponsoring a child, volunteering with those in need, befriending refugees, helping a recent immigrant learn English, serving as a volunteer at a rescue mission or in prisons, visiting the elderly or handicapped. Others are engaged supporting good organizations which are seeking to address and resolve societal issues around the world - clean water, access to vaccinations and basic medicines, fairness and anti-corruption, refugee and immigrant assistance. And the list of ways to bring "hope" in the midst of hard goes on and on. As Bob Goff often says, "love does stuff."

Good night from Mbale.

1 comment (Add your own)

1. Towner home group wrote:
Pastor Paul , please greet our dear brothers and sisters in Christ for us, reminding them that we are praying for them, specifically this Friday we will gather for corporate prayer.
When reading about Simon Peter and your reference to 1Peter 1:7, the old hymn "When He Cometh" by William O. Cushing came to mind. Know it? Last verse..."Little children, Little children who love their Redeemer, are the jewels, precious jewels, His loved and His own. Like the stars of the morning, His bright crown adorning, They shall shine in their beauty, bright gems for His crown." Youtube has great rendition. Their love for Christ in the midst of "hard", reflects Christ's beauty as an example for us. Thank you for your willingness to be sent!

Tue, March 28, 2017 @ 8:00 PM

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