So What? Reflections on David Brickner’s “Dare to Hope” article

If you found David’s article “Dare to Hope” as challenging as I did you might like to process this with me. I’m working through his interpretation of what Jeremiah was trying to get across to the people in exile: “Don’t just become a hater of the situation. Learn to live for what good God can make out of it.” That’s a tough one.

Any number of people I’m close to are in the throes of various situations that anyone would hate. Not only that, the nature of life on this earth is that even when “life is good,” a trial of major proportions is coming and we don’t know if it is coming sooner or later… only that it’s coming. So I’m trying to break down David’s quote above, for myself and maybe for you. When “the big one” comes, don’t just become a hater of the situation. It’s natural and it’s not wrong to hate a situation that blankets us in overwhelming pain and loss. We’re not told to greet the situation with glee. But we can’t afford to limit ourselves to being only haters of the situation. Why should hatred for the situation have free reign in our lives, or be allowed to grow so big that it crowds everything else out of our hearts? No, we don’t want to be defined by our hatred of the situation. Do we?

I like the second part of the admonition as well: learn to live for what good God can make out of it. I try not to tell friends in hard circumstances, “God has a plan, you’ll see He will bring something good of it.” I do believe that is true with all my heart. But I’ve discovered from being on the other end of those meant-to-be-comforting words that they can conjure up an image of sitting passively while tons of cement are poured on you “for your own good.” The cement dries and there you are, buried, suffocating, immobilized—and feeling guilty for not being grateful about it.

But learning to live for whatever good God can make of a situation strikes me much differently. It’s a challenge to not be passive. Move your brain around, move your body, think, look, go, find what God can do. Is this something we can try in the initial stages of shock and loss? Probably not. Maybe at first all we can do is be “a hater of the situation.” There’s a wise old saying: you may not be able to keep a bird from landing on your head, but you don’t need to let it build a nest there. Philippians 4:8 gives the converse, telling us all the kinds of thoughts on which we should meditate, or let our minds dwell on.

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Ruth Rosen | San Francisco

Newsletter Editor, Missionary

Ruth Rosen, daughter of Jews for Jesus founder Moishe Rosen, is a staff writer and editor with Jews for Jesus. Her parents raised her with a sense of Jewishness as well as "Jesusness." Ruth has a degree in biblical studies from Biola College in Southern California and has been part of our full-time staff since 1979. She's toured with Jewish gospel drama teams and participated in many outreaches. She writes and edits quite a few of our evangelistic resources, including many broadside tracts. One of her favorites is, "Who Needs Politics." Ruth also helps other Jewish believers in Jesus tell their stories. That includes her father, whose biography she authored in what she says was "one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life." For details, or to order your copy of Called to Controversy the Unlikely Story of Moishe Rosen and the Founding of Jews for Jesus, click here. Or click here for a video desription of the biography. For the inside story and "extras" about the book, check out our Called to Controversy Facebook page. Ruth also writes shorter "faith journey" stories in books like Jewish Doctors Meet the Great Physician as well as in booklets like From Generation to Generation: A Jewish Family Finds Their Way Home, which you can download for free here. She edits the Jews for Jesus Newsletter and RealTime for Christians who want to pray for our ministry and our missionaries. In her spare time, Ruth enjoys writing fiction and playing with her dog, Annie, whom she "rescued" from a shelter. Ruth says, "Some people say that rescue dogs have issues, and that is probably true. If dogs could talk, they'd probably say that people have issues, and that is probably even more true. I'm glad that God is in the business of rescuing people, (and dogs) despite—or maybe because of—all our issues." You can follow Ruth Rosen on facebook or as RuthARosen on twitter.

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