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  • Under HIs Wings - Gwen Hanna

God Showing Off

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,

so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

For most of the past decade, God has been patient with me as I follow my quest to settle hope in my own heart. I have documented the oft-humorous situations and happenings that have punctuated the journey. (As I write, I am wearing bracelet number three because the ‘hope’ bead once again dislodged from bracelet number 4. At least ‘hope’ isn’t lost and gone forever!)

This past week God did it again. A friend at Bible study declared that God was “showing off” in amazing ways. I couldn’t agree more!

He caught my attention nearly two years ago when one of the first clients I was able to serve who was doing hippotherapy was Hope. Although her body is far from able and her ability to even communicate her needs, let alone her heart, God gave me eyes to see and a heart to love her beyond what I could have even asked him for. He is merciful to give me glimpses of his love for humanity, broken and battered beautiful ones, we are!

Sensing his desire to show me more, he led me to volunteer at a local food bank. My role is to meet any new participants to listen to their stories and offer any resources we have or are aware of that might assist them on their journeys. I had few expectations except that I knew that God would show me more about himself by introducing me to more of his beloved in need of grace and mercy.

The first night, on my first “solo” interaction, I met Ahmal, a young, married woman who has a one-year-old daughter and who is also nominal Muslim from a north African country. I was instantly attracted to her joyful personality. Over the weeks, her father sometimes came along and we exchanged smiles. A couple of weeks ago, Ahmal came in so excited to tell me about the GED classes she was about to start. She was also excited that her little one was turning one and invited me to her party!

It was a joy to meet her husband, feel the warmth of her accepting mother, meet the other Americans (most probably not believers) who have welcomed her with warmth and fun that makes one wonder why the church isn’t more like them, and celebrate. After feasting on the beautiful “Hello Kitty” and Iranian cakes, I drove away feeling blessed.

Last week Ahmal came in without her usual joy. I asked about her classes, and she honestly shared about her struggles. “Hold on to hope,” I said, trying to encourage her. “Did you know?” she said, “that is what my name means.”

I am not so great at math, but even I know that the odds of two young women named Hope being in these two locations are quite low. Right? I think my friend was right … God was just showing off! Hope isn’t a wistful wish or a bead on a bracelet or something beyond grasp. Hope is what he gives of himself. It is accomplished in the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus and empowered through his Spirit. Hope comes with peace and joy as we trust in him.

And, for me, Hope is there in the lives of two young women who, by his grace, show me just how my God loves.

Oh Father,

Thank you for showing off!

Thank you for blasting into my

Little life to teach me,

To woo me,

To grow my head, heart, and soul

To see what you see.

Love through me, Lord.

Bring them your peace … and joy.

February 10, 2017

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