Thursday, August 6, 2020

Filled with … - Martin Wiles

And you, because of my blood covenant with you, I’ll release your prisoners from their hopeless cells. Come home, hope-filled prisoners! Zechariah 9:11 MSG
What you put in the reservoir matters.
A local manufacturer once donated a riding lawnmower to the church I pastored. Now I could cut our large lawn, which would save the church money on landscaping costs. It was a nice piece of machinery, and I loved cruising across our long, horizontal lawn.
Then, life got busy … too busy for me to have time to cut the grass. My wife decided she’d help out. Not being familiar with the engine or its parts, she made what was almost a fatal mistake.
“I think I put the gas in the oil reservoir,” she said when I answered the phone.
“Don’t crank it,” I responded.
When I got home, I cautiously placed the key in the ignition and turned, not knowing what to expect. Fortunately, she realized what she was doing before she poured in too much gas. What I got when I cranked the mower was a lot of smoke. The mower continued to run until I left the church, but it never ran as well as it did before the wrong-reservoir mistake.
The wrong thing filled Zechariah’s readers too: hopelessness. They had just returned from seventy years in foreign captivity and were now faced with rebuilding the Temple other foreigners had destroyed. They started well, but then faced opposition, both internal and external. God called Zechariah, along with Haggai, to fill the people with hope—hope for the present and hope for the future when the Messiah would come.
If we let it, ours can become a hopeless existence in an uncertain world. Abuse, crime, busyness, depression, war, terror, mass shootings, unemployment, hunger, persecution. When the money runs out before the bills do. When there’s not enough time in the day to complete the tasks. When the marriage is failing … when the fear is real … when the abuse continues … we need the right liquid in our reservoirs. And the right mixture is faith in God, mixed with hope.
Having hope in what appears to be a hopeless world is only possible through faith. Nothing else—nor anyone else—can provide it. God instills it because we believe He controls the world, our lives, and everything that happens in both.
Don’t live a hopeless existence. Go to the One who can lift your spirits and give your strength for each day and every circumstance.
Prayer: Father, we look to You for the hope we need—the hope no one else can provide.

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