Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose HOPE is in the Lord. Jeremiah 17:7
Maybe it’s just a Kansas thing, but growing up I often heard older people talk about the woes of the day and it would very often be followed by the phrase, “It’s all goin’ to hell in a hand basket.” As a kid, I wasn’t even sure what a hand basket was! Then I watched The Wizard of Oz, and when Elmira Gulch showed up on her bike with a basket to take Dorothy’s dog Toto away, I figured out what a “hand basket” was! Among the things on the list of woes were teenagers. It seemed older folks didn’t have much hope in them.
This past weekend I had the privilege of chaperoning two busloads of high school students from our area to a conference at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. We joined more than 2,000 others Friday evening in the university field house and the atmosphere was like a rock concert. Kids clapping and singing their guts out, passing beach balls above their heads all through the crowd and forming human trains and running through the aisles...ELECTRIC is the word that came to mind. (It’s ok if you need to take an aspirin before you read on.) But here is the amazing part, it was praise and worship music…these kids were going crazy for their Faith! Their love of the Lord is what brought them together and fed their frenzy! I was awestruck about 30 minutes later when all those teenagers dropped to their knees on the bleachers and hard gym floor in complete reverent silence to pray, praise , worship and adore the God who had created them! I watched teenagers laugh, pray, weep, and scream with delight as they drew closer, dug deeper and became more connected to Jesus! I’m not sure I even have words yet to describe what I was so blessed to be a part of this weekend. I went to help, but left with more HOPE than I can even describe.
On the 7 hour drive home, I thought about that “hell in a hand basket” phrase and realized that if those teenagers were goin’ somewhere in a hand basket…it sure wasn’t where the older folks from my childhood thought. To be quite honest…we’d all be lucky to climb in the basket with them because they’re goin’ somewhere alright, and based on what I saw this weekend, I wanna go too! The Steubenville Youth conferences will reach more than 40,000 teenagers this summer…talk about setting faith ablaze! This is the generation that will design, construct, operate, manage and decorate the nursing home I’m gonna live in! They are also the generation that is going to renew the spirit of the church and they will do it well!
In a world where bad news is pretty easy to find, today’s verse from the Prophet Jeremiah is the key to settle our troubled hearts. HOPE in the Lord is our comfort! We get worried and anxious about the woes of the day and we forget that our blessings will spring from the trust and HOPE we place in the Lord. Those teenagers I spent the weekend with get it! They renewed my hope because their faith is alive, real and contagious!
A seed to plant: Hope is rooted in God’s plan. Pick three things from your “I’m worried about” list and pray specifically for each one to be blessed by God and then replace the worry with expectant hope!
Blessings on your day!