DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Hoping in God

Written by: on February 12, 2015

I have to admit, the past few weeks have been tough. Opening a community café has been a greater challenge than I could ever have imagined. On Monday this past week, I caught myself in the midst of negatively, “I can’t do this…I can’t, I can’t.” Staffing problems, teething troubles with menus, opening hours, finding good food suppliers, the endless purchase of equipment, coupled with becoming financially strapped, has really all become too much. In using Macy and Johnstone’s analogy of the person in the boat, the draining factors were pushing down hard, dangerously lowering the water levels, while the nourishing factors were few and far between [i]. And on top of all this, there was the blatant spiritual warfare.

Active Hope it a timely read. The authors try to convince the readers that any dream is possible, and should be pursued. In recent years, I’ve fancied myself as a bit of a visionary who, with God’s enabling, could pursue the impossible. However, what I’ve learned is the reality of that is a lot harder and considerably more costly than one realises. It’s not so easy to pursue a vision!

Yet Macy and Johnstone encourage you to believe that, despite the rocks you hit along the way, it is possible to accomplish a dream. They provide personal success stories and also offer practical encouragements for finding the support and community you need to help make your dream happen. I especially loved Chris’s story in chapter ten of success in lowering working hours for doctors. What an accomplishment! They write, “When a change wants to happen, it looks for people to act through. How do we know when a change wants to happen? We feel the want inside of us. There is a desire, a tugging at us to be involved. But that doesn’t make the change inevitable, because standing in our way are all those who say we’re wasting our time, that is isn’t possible, that it will be too hazardous. For the change to happen through us, we need to encounter those voices. A shift can happen within us when we break through a resistance that has been holding us back.” [ii]

Whilst I found Macy and Johnstone’s writing inspiring and highly motivating, not forgetting their honourable desire to save our planet, I couldn’t agree with everything. Whilst it is possible to accomplish much with the greatest support, motivation and perseverance in the world, there sometimes comes a point where a threshold arises that threatens the fulfilment of one’s dream. Personally, I’m facing such a threshold. With all the best intention in the world, I do not have what it takes to keep this project afloat. Even Bodhichitta cannot keep this café going. I need a divine miracle. In fact, I need quite a few this coming week for the doors to not close. I have come to the end of myself, but even so, I know it is not the end. I am hopeful but it’s a hope that does not originate from myself, but from God. Although I am weak, God is strong and He will intervene where human endeavour fails. As the Apostle Paul once wrote, “’My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.’ (2 Corinthians 12:9)

We all need active hope, but the greatest hope, I have found, comes from God Himself. He is the greatest Provider of strength, the greatest Giver of dreams. He longs for the wellbeing of our planet, and places those desires, that tugging in our heart to follow His call. Although it is true, ‘I can’t’, I believe He can. And so I wait for the miracles needed to accomplish positive change in our community through the work and ministry of Cornerstone Café.

[i] Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone: Active Hope: How To Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy (Novato, CA: New World Library, 2012), 215

[ii] Macy and Johnstone, ibid., 198

About the Author

mm

Liz Linssen

7 responses to “Hoping in God”

  1. mm Deve Persad says:

    Liz, thanks for the update on the Cafe. Sounds like an exciting, although time consuming, adventure. There is no doubt a dream is not enough and certainly there is no substitute for the hope we have in Our God. May He grant you insight into the important next steps.

  2. Liz…
    As I read your post and I think about the questions Macy & Johnstone provide as guides and guideposts I wonder what it might mean and would these be helpful for you in the visioning and implementation process? Have you stretched beyond your capacity at this point, what happens in a scale back? Sometimes when something is more difficult or does not go according to plan it is not a lack of faith, but perhaps in the situation wisdom is speaking. It is a bit of a paradox, perhaps … by that I mean that the “answer” or provision may come in and by another means than what was hoped for or expected.

    Having written those things know my prayers for you and the cafe… may God’s joy and renewal be with you….

    • Liz Linssen says:

      Hi Carol
      Thank you for your feedback. I found very helpful where you wrote, “It is a bit of a paradox, perhaps … by that I mean that the “answer” or provision may come in and by another means than what was hoped for or expected.” Wise words – I think I should be prepared for that. Thank you for your advice. 🙂

  3. Michael Badriaki says:

    Dear Liz,

    Thank you for sharing about a real life example you are working with. I wasn’t able to complete this week’s reading but I enjoyed the parts I was able to cover. The authors have helpful principles they discuss in the book and many of them seem to echo what scripture already teaches. This is why I agree with your statement, “We all need active hope, but the greatest hope, I have found, comes from God Himself. He is the greatest Provider of strength, the greatest Giver of dreams.”

    I trust that God will continue to lead and strengthen you through this new cafe venture.

    Liz before Christ

    • Liz Linssen says:

      Hi Michael
      Thank you for your feedback. Yes, I do agree with you. The authors do provide some very helpful and inspiring principles, many of which did seem to echo scripture. Though not all (I’m thinking of the closing chapter).
      God bless,
      Liz

  4. Liz, so wonderful that you are doing this café.  What a wonderful strategy. Very glad that you were able to glean from active hope blessings that assisted you in pursuing one of the visions that has been burning in your heart.

    I so heartily agree with your conclusion that we, as mere humans, cannot conjure up the necessary strength or willpower to bring about what may be needed to be accomplished at the moment. You are so right that God alone is the one who makes our will rise to the sufficient level to meet the need that He desires us to accomplish in and through us.

    “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts!” Zechariah 4:6. It is He who works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure (phil 2:13) to accomplish what we shall accomplish, i.e., the works that we have been given to do. (Eph. 2:10)

    May all that he desires to accomplish in and through you be allowed to be accomplished according to His will as you continue to submit yourself to Him. May the Lord bring about those miracles that you seek for the ministry that you are doing through the café. I love your people and desire only the best, His best for you and them. Walk in the Grace that you have been given, nothing less, nothing more is expected. Bless ya! Mitch

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *