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Week 1, Friday: Hope

Joe Hittle

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As a child, I remember getting the Weekly Reader. One of the issues that still lingers in my mind was devoted to a hospital ship that sailed to developing countries, primarily in Africa, and provided much needed medical services for people who would have no access to them if not for Project Hope.

The article was actually pretty graphic in its depiction of people who were sick, starving and needing all the encouragement they could get. Even though my family was anything but well to do, these images began to stamp into my mind that there is a lot of despair in the world.

It is not hard to see a different type of despair in our world today. Yes, those same needs are present in situations around the world. As the people in Central America and the Caribbean Islands emerge from the devastation of hurricane season, as the people of St. Joseph's, Missouri, recover from the shock of a deranged gunman, as the world waits with anxious interest to see what the response will be to the worst maniac since Idi Amin, it's not tough to see all kinds of despair that enslave people everywhere.

Then, there is the personal despair by which people allow themselves to be trapped. Relationship problems, financial needs, health issues, family conflict and unhealthy desires seem to place people into prison cells impossible to escape. Surely there must be an answer.

If the Word of God can be believed at all, all of these issues can be met, and met triumphantly through the One we celebrate this season. Magic? No. Just a loving God giving everything He has to reconcile each one of us and the problems and baggage we own to Him.

This project of hope has been sailing quite well for nearly 2000 years. Your despair won't swamp it! And even the lifeboats of this ship are more comfortable than that log you cling to.

~ Joe Hittle
Ottumwa, Iowa, USA

Today's Scripture Readings*
[Psalm 16, 17] [Amos 5:1-17] [Jude 1-16] [Matthew 22:1-14]



You started something bigger than we can imagine when You demonstrated Your love to us in Jesus. You promised through Him and Your word that You would not leave us, You would not forsake us, You would not leave us comfortless, that You would work out all things in order to bring the best into our lives. We look at our situations and "know" that they are hopeless. Thank You for gently and yet convincingly reminding us how wrong we are in that despair.


*These readings are adapted from the Daily Office of the Book of Common Prayer, Year 2.  For Year 1 readings, see Daily Readings, Advent 1.

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