by Pastor Dan

It still is of great interest to me where thoughts and ideas come from.  Recently shared in a group conversation about grief and loss, I made a comment about how finding a way to heal from a loss took me on a journey of finding my worth or value.  In Matthew 13:46, Jesus talks about a man finding a pearl and then selling all he has to go and buy it.  My mind flashes back to when I was a young and angry man.  Back then, the thoughts of my value or worth had become diminished to a point that I was no longer any value to anyone.  When I found the pearl Jesus was talking about, which was Jesus Himself, my value instantly changed.  Now, it took quite a while for my thoughts and attitudes about myself to change.  In the Bible, this is called transformation, which comes from the Greek word metamorphosis.  This process has some things attached to it that I find very interesting.

Hope is the beginning part of this – hope not just that things will get better or that the pain will go away but that there is a deeper purpose in it.  It may be that you can help another person through the same or similar challenge.  It may be that you find strength and a resilient spirit which you did not see in yourself before this.  Maybe you realize that you need a better support group around you to live life in peace or with greater joy.  

I love Psalms 3:3.  It says, “But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head.”  Hope also can give you wisdom and insight into life that you did not have before.  Proverbs 4:8 speaks of this when it talks about the wisdom and knowledge that comes from knowing Jesus Christ:  "Prize her, and she will exalt you; She will honor you if you embrace her.”  The Apostle Paul shared these words when talking about the worth he found in wisdom and knowing Jesus Christ:  “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”  (Philippians 3:7-8a)  Even in the suffering and loss, Job was trying to make sense of the pain life had caused him.  He grappled with whether he wanted to live or die but said something very important:  "Man does not know its value, nor is it found in the land of the living.”  (Job 28:12)  Job did not mean that he had to die to find this hope.  He meant that those things in this world that he once had did not bring him hope; hope could only be found in Jesus Christ.  

So we can say we need to find hope to work through our pain and loss in life, but what does that really mean or what does that look like?  This is often a lifelong process.  There are two words I want to share with people as often as I can:  worth and beauty.   Webster’s Dictionary says that worth is “the value of something measured by its qualities or by the esteem in which it is held.”  We do not have the time or space in this article to fully express this value, but there are two things here for us in hope and healing.  One is the quality of your life.  God placed such a high quality on your life that Jesus left heaven and came to earth and gave up His life for the pearl (you and me).  The second part of this value is what God thinks of you.  When this becomes a reality in our hearts and minds, not only do we begin to understand our worth to God but also the worth of others - an attitude we need more of in this world.  

The second word is beauty.  Beauty is the reflection of the worth that is in us from this hope.  Beauty is the bounty or fruit that is produced when we find our worth through Jesus Christ.  Many of us enjoy fruits and vegetables and other foods that plants and trees produce.  They give us energy to live and love life.  That is a natural example of a spiritual produce that happens through hope in finding your value or worth.  Your loss or pain can, through hope, produce value and worth to reflect and encourage another.  That is life’s greatest opportunity.  
I close with these words given to Timothy from the Apostle Paul:  “Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.  It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance.  For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.”  (1 Timothy 4:7-10)

Pastor Dan
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