Summary: Living with Hope in a Broken World
"Hope for Troubled Times?" Mark 5:21-24,35-43
In Sir Edwin Arnold’s Light of Asia, he tells a parable from the Buddha about a mother who had lost her child. Carrying its dead body in her bosom, she come to the buddha and said:"Lord and Master, do you know any medicine that while be good for my child?" "Yes," he said, "bring me a mustard seed from one house where no some or husband or parent or slave has died." From house to house she went, but never a single one could she find where death had not entered at some time or another. She returned disconsolate to the Buddha, and this was his answer:"He whom thou lowest slept, Dead on thy bosom yesterday; today Thou know’st the whole wide world weeps with your woe; The grief which all hearts share grows less for one.
Isn’t that true?? Everyone has encountered trouble in one form or another. Trouble is everywhere, grief, sorrow, pain, heartache, sickness, loneliness, we could go on and on. as one human being aches, all human beings experience something of that ache. When one hurts, all hurt. Especially, do we see that when death strikes. It seems the whole community is affected by the death of one of its members. There is a hush, a heaviness in the air as the sting of death is experienced. People speak in hushed tones, food is brought to the house where death has been felt. People hug, cry, tory to console one another with words, or just the act of being there. We live in a troubled world, a world which has felt the brokenness of sin, the separation from the loving hand of God.
An interesting story is told of a man in China. He raised prized stallions, and when one ran away his friends came to his home to mourn his loss. After listening to their expressions of concern, the man asked, "How do I know whether what happened is bad or good?" Several days later the runaway horse returned bringing several strays with him. When the news spread the same group of people came to his house again - to celebrate his good fortune. "But how do I know whether it’s good or bad?" the old man asked. The next day the horse kicked the owner’s son and broke the young man’s leg. Once again the group assembled - this time to express sorrow over the unfortunate incident. The father asked, "But how do I know if this is bad or good?" The following week war broke out; the man’s son was exempted from military service because of his broken leg. The friends gathered again.......and the story goes on and on.
Indeed, we live in a world filled with troubles. We tend to blame others for them, or question the happenings of this life with our whys or how comes. We look for answers with our intelligent minds, but we never find them. We look to God trying to figure Him out, but He remains a mystery. We finally come to the conclusion that we must ask the question why for our own sake, we must question the mysteries of God for our own sake, but ultimately, the answers always remain beyond this side of the grave.
A poem by Pastor Clinton Meininger from his book "Springs of Living Waters"tells us of the mysteries of life. He says:
"All around me, Lord of life,
My world is tumbling in.
There’s nothing sure and nothing safe
From gossip, greed and sin:
And yet, I know Thy pardon, Lord,
and thy forgiving power;
And through the storms of life each day
Thy truth sustains each hour.
Oh, help me climb above the storms’
That beat men down each day,
And glimpse a bit of haven on earth
Along life’s burdened way.
Help me to know Thy nearness, Lord.
I cannot walk alone!
So let me feel Thy guiding hand
Through every path unknown.
I do not want to know the goal
Of what tomorrow bring;
One step, one hour, one gleam of light
To make my spirit sing.
And I shall walk through mist or rain
Through storm or summer’s day,
If I but know You’re by my side
Along life’s changing way."
If troubles are a natural part of life, if the questions to life lie with us, but the answers remain with God, what then do we say or do with our questions, our troubles, our suffering? We become fatalist, living each day wondering if it be our last? Do we accept our loss in life without a whimper? Do we become so harden against the troubles of life, that we fail to enjoy the beauty, the wonder, the majesty of life around us, and we ignore the wonder and uniqueness of our own individual, God-given life?? Do we become cynics, questioning everything in life, and believing only a few of the answers?