© 2013 John Casimir O'Keefe

The Divine’s Story of Hope

The Divine’s Story of Hope[1]

It hurts my heart to think of this, but today, many people find themselves in a dark place; a place where they are hurting and marginalized; a place where they don’t see the Divine; a place where they do not hear the Divine’s Story of Hope. While they find themselves in this dark place, there is a way they can be invited out – the problems is, no one seems to care. Those who claim to be a Follower of Christ, only point figures at those who are hurting in this dark place. They desire to either pull, or push, them out of darkness and not invest their lives in bringing the Story of Hope. They see themselves as being above those hurting, those living on the margins, those struggling with the darkness around them, those who are gasping for air in a place filled with thick air. What I have come to realize is that those who point fingers are also living in a very dark place, though they tricked to think they are living in the light. They are under the misconception that if they can point out the darkness surrounding others, their darkness will not be seen. The funny thing is they are only fooling themselves. You see, the Divine knows their darkness, knows their pain, and is not tricked by them projecting their darkness and pain on others. What they seem to forget is that the Divine is able to peek through any firewall we build around our darkness and pain. They forget the Divine Story of Hope.

Those who point fingers need to ask themselves, ‘Does my pointing out the darkness in others make my darkness any lighter?’ They tend to think that if we point out the darkness in others, the Divine will not pay attention to their darkness. But that is not how this works. The Divine is interested in you, where you are and how you relate to others; the Divine desire to share the Story of Hope with everyone. The Divine is willing to help us with our darkness, and if the Divine’s Story of Hope is working in us, we should be willing to help others with their darkness and not point fingers. Here is how this works; the Divine Story of Hope does not want any of us to live in darkness, so the Divine is willing to work in our lives to bring us to light and in that, when the Divine Story of Hope is working in us, we should be willing to help others – not with figure pointing, name calling or pushing them away, but in the same way the Divine works in us – with love, grace and forgiveness – in a way that embraces others. Yes, we should share a hug, and not a push.

When we walk away from those in darkness all we are doing is placing ourselves deeper into our darkness and we are walking away from the Divine Story of Hope. Many of us find it easier to just point out the darkness in others and walk away, without lifting their hearts in love, grace and forgiveness. We forget that just as we are a work in process with the Divine, so are others – and we need them just as they need us and we all need the Story of Hope. When we ignore them, we find ourselves walking deeper into the darkness.

If we realize that the Divine’s Story of Hope brings us out of darkness and into light, why would we do anything but help others see the Hope we see lighting our journey? I see this as a simple question to answer. Many who see themselves as Followers of Christ think they have some kind of “special dispensation” against the darkness, and that they and they alone own the Story of Hope. But what they forget is that the Divine does not play favorites and that the Story of Hope starts with the Divine. The Divine is willing, and ready, to bring everyone out of the darkness and into the Story of Hope. The Divine is not impressed with your words, or actions, about what you do, or say the Divine cares about your heart and where your heart is moving in the Story of Hope. For the Divine your darkness is known.

If you are living in darkness, without truly knowing you are in darkness, the Divine sees that and understands where you are. But, as a Follower of Christ, if you know you are living in darkness, or you know others are in darkness, and you do nothing about it – you do not desire to open your life the light, you miss the point of the Divine Story of Hope. You see, the Divine requires that you actually do something with the light shared, not just go around saying “I have light” while those around you are hurting in darkness. There is something very important I need to ad at this time – sharing the light with others is not saying, “I have light, you should get light too.” Sharing your light means you get to know the person, you open your life to them, you honestly love them, you seek to live in grace with them and you forgive anything they may have done to you or to others. It means you lovingly and honestly share the Story of Hope with them. Remember, the Divine does not want your words; the Divine does not want your actions; the Divine wants your heart.

Now, that is not to say there is no one who is able to walk in the light, and may have never even heard of the Divine’s Story of Hope. They just realize that living in light is better than living in darkness. This does not say we do not need the Divine working on our lives, it simply shows that the Divine is all over, living in everything and touching every heart – the Story of Hope is universal. They get it. They may not know what it is called, but that does not matter, they get it. Deep inside who they are, they sense the Divine; they see the Divine in how they treat others and how they live; they connect with the Story of Hope. Their seeing the light means that the light the Divine desires for us all has been around since the beginning of time – it was the plan of the Divine to hardwire the Story of Hope into this world. And Jesus came to share that reality and introduce us to the light, the Story of Hope.

What I find heartbreaking is that many who claim to be Followers of Christ tend to think that they have the only switch that can turn on the light; that they alone own the Story of Hope. They tend to think they hold all the answers, and that now (because they know of the light – notice I said that they “know of the light” not that they “know the light”) they can do anything they like and just point fingers at others. To those, let me say this – you know nothing, you don’t know the Story of Hope. You have confused your darkness with the light of the Divine. You strive to lead people out of their darkness, with your darkness. While pointing out how bad their darkness is, you ignore your darkness; all that does is cause both to walk around in darkness. You think that if you create fancy talk about light, fancy theology about the light, while living in darkness, you somehow are outside the darkness that surrounds you. I think this is why so many look at those claiming to be in the light as say, “It’s because of you Followers of Christ that we have no desire to know your Story of Hope.” If you think about that, that slap should sting. I cry, because I know that even after this letter not much will change.

Some of you will claim, “Not me. I was baptized in water and with the Holy Spirit.” If that were true, and you truly lived in the light of the Divines Story of Hope that would be great; but do you? If you are living in darkness, it seems to me that all you got out of the deal was a short dip in the pool, a piece of paper with your name on it and a day when people said “congratulation” – not much more. Here is something to think about, those who have never been baptized and strive to help people live in light are doing better than you. Just in case you missed it, let me say it again – if all that happened is that now you are wet and still live in darkness, that just makes you wet – getting wet does not make you a Follower of Christ, getting wet does not mean you live in the Divine Story of Hope, it just makes you wet. The Divine seeks a change in your heart, and your desire to help others, not some ritual where you stand before others, get wet and people clap – that is too legalistic for the Divine and it misses the Story of Hope by miles.

[1] This is based on a “rewite” of Paul’s letter to the Romans. The idea is, “What would Paul write to the church today?” – over time this will be part of a book entitled “The Story of Hope.”

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