Photo credit: Keith Gandy

Despair. Maybe the face of a dear friend comes to mind.

When the consequences of life choices ripen and the harvest is reaped. Maybe a relationship ends and rejection occurs. It's generally complex and always heartbreaking. So great is the fall that not even Humpty Dumpty's friends and counselors can put the pieces back together again.

No denial in the world makes the hurt go away. That kind of emotional devastation is not like the occasional storm that blows over quickly. 

An ancient king states that anyone can retain firm hope by shifting perspective in three areas.

No one who hopes in you 
    will ever be put to shame,
Psalm 25:3a

God is not just for selective elite - "no one who hopes in you."

I've been in the airline's airport business travelor's club just once. It was wonderful. Now I know what is behind those frosted glass doors. And yes, the desk personnel do check your ticket or status to establish your right to be admitted. 

God only has one prerequisite and anyone can qualify. No exclusions - no one. It is not based on gender. Not race. Not based on worthiness. No exclusions. Good to know. 

Here is the stipulation. Is your hope established in your own talent? In the character of others? If it in yourself, your arrogance will be sorely disappointed. If in others whose choices you cannot control, the chances are pretty high that hurt will be in your future. But not so by placing your trust in God. Who are you counting on? Choose one that cannot fail. 

God does not change - "will ever..."

In a world of flux - technology is outdated in a couple of years. A loyal team or staff will not be in place over the course of the next five years - just watch as the Miami Heat are realigned this year. Even if your dream team is voted into office, they have max a couple years or terms and they are gone. My wife is certainly glad that the trend of pastors/preachers in cruisewear has run its course.

People move, they move on. Use your limited time to enjoy and invest, because children mature and expand their horizons. God does move people. In cases of abuse and addiction, protection must be afforded the victims - never the less separation is painful.

God does not change, everything else does. You can count on that, on Him.

God does not change - "will ever be put to shame."

Ever. Period. He does not disappoint. He knows us completely, yet loves without stipulation. He does not run when hurt. The Heavenly Father is proactive in reconciliation. 

Your team can't seem to score no matter how loud you scream, no matter how you wear your lucky hat - even the comeback cap? You are heartbroken. Still no championship. What has to happen for the Phoenix Suns to get a hall of fame center in his prime? Every year I am forced to look to next year. Every season. Since I started watching basketball in the Valley of the Sun in 1970. That is 44 years and counting. And free agency killed us this year so far.

I have looked into the mirror and peered into my soul and even recently shame gripped me and brought me to tears. I hurt another person and had the arrogance to justify it. That is worse than arrogant, it is cruelty. Yes, deep shame and sorrow. (And yes, after asking forgiveness, the offended person was willing to forgive me and offer me another chance to do right.)

But not with God. The longer I look into His nature and gaze on His glory, the more my spirit falls in love - utter fascination. He never says things to destroy or intentionally inflict destructive pain. God has no need to enter a battle of words and attempt to 'one-up' or get the last word in for the effect of shock and win an argument. He is secure in himself and does not keep score in order to beef up His insecure identity.

God does not argue - arguments are rooted in the attempt to sway and establish consensus. God's will is carried out by omnipotence not consensus. He pleads for us to join Him - our love choice, not a necessity for His own self-worth. 

So, my heart...

Refocus on the true source of hope. 
Rejoice in Him.
Stay put. Do not let your own shame drive a wedge between you and God. Obey His voice at all costs. Emotional pain will lead you to want to lash out or despair. Don't listen or allow it to guide your decisions. 

And just maybe the Suns will surprise us all.

Keith Gandy - GermanyKeith Gandy - Germany

Keith, originally from the desert of Phoenix, Arizona, has been planting a church in Aschaffenburg, Germany for over thirty years. Daughter churches have also been started and missionaries have been sent out of the congregation. Annually, he participates in encouraging other European church-planters and frequently travels to visit them in their respective field of service.

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