Have you ever walked on a treadmill when it was moving too fast? I’ve seen some pretty funny commercials where someone got thrown off of one, but I’ve also been on one that was going too fast and had to jump off to keep from becoming the next commercial. It can definitely happen on a new machine, one we don’t know well. So when the machine goes too fast, we forget where the slow down button is. Part of life seems to be knowing where to go to find what we need.
Sometimes life starts going too fast, and we wish we could find the slow down button or even stop the machine for a while. But life does not usually offer a slow down button when we need it most.
Jesus gave us answers for when we feel like life’s treadmill is going faster than we can keep up with. He said, “If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to me and I will give you rest. Take the yoke I give you. Put it on your shoulders and learn from me. I am gentle and humble, and you will find rest.” (Matt. 11) The most powerful One in the universe is also our Source of peace and rest. These are “Encounters with Hope.”
When I traveled to Thailand for work, I was very aware of the horrible evil that exists there through human trafficking. But what I found was a ray of light shining in that darkness in an orphanage for young girls, to rescue them from being sold into that slavery before it could happen to them. The girls’ home educates them and raises them to see the dignity and value of their lives.
One of their skills is sewing. The outstanding beauty of the pieces they were creating amazed me. Each colorful thread intricately woven together to form a beautiful piece of fabric that was worthy of framing as a masterpiece.
Had you ever thought about the amazing truth written to God by a powerful king: “You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13) How would your life change if you saw your dignity and value? If you remembered the truth that God sewed you together, every colorful thread of your personality and life into a beautiful masterpiece? I find it fitting that some young girls, young masterpieces knit together by God and rescued out of slavery are skillfully sewing masterpieces for others to enjoy. These are “Encounters with Hope.”
Most people know that Google is a search engine designed to search for whatever you are looking for on the internet. It makes finding what you need on the web fast and easy. I was thinking though, inside of each human is a search engine. A human longing to find something that can bring us happiness.
A woman might be searching for something or someone to tell her that she is absolutely beautiful, loveable and worth pursuing. A young man might be searching for respect, for something or someone to let him know that he has what it takes. These are often lifelong pursuits, and they are not fast and easy to find.
Everyone who searched for Jesus found something they had been looking for all along. An encounter with Jesus made women realize that they were uniquely beautiful and worthy of the deepest love. And they found someone whose presence made them that much more beautiful. And men finally found a leader worth following, and someone who could form them into a man worthy of much respect. “Seek Him, and you will find Him,” God has said. When we put Jesus in our search engine and really seek Him, we will find what we’ve been searching for all along. These are “Encounters with Hope.”
Once, I had the opportunity to go sailing with friends. Though it looked a bit more complicated than I would have imagined, one thing was obvious: Sailing meant cooperating with the wind. With great skill they hoisted the sail and caught the wind, taking us across the bay in what proved to be a great adventure with friends.
Several times, I have found that my life has been much like fighting the wind. Instead of doing things the way God designed them, I tried to do them my way. I essentially said, “Forget God!” and quickly found my life like a sailboat trying to fight the wind. It went nowhere. And a few times, it felt like I was sinking.
The most amazing adventure is setting the sails of our lives in the hands of Jesus, trusting and believing in His work on the Cross to forgive and restore our lives and following His lead as our Master wherever He takes us. When I’ve finally done that, I’ve discovered that my life really began to move in a positive direction. When we give Him our sails, we begin a life journey that can take us sailing on the adventure of a lifetime! These are “Encounters with Hope.”