|Rev. Kimberly Burke|
There are a few observations that I made in relation to our two planets; the planets of the East and West. The first is how the two come to view hope. In a world that from a western perspective seems devoid of hope. Hope abounds! Hope is alive! Hope is all there is. I realized how often we cast our burdens yet so readily pick them back up, roll around in them and make them part of our being. They are like ghosts that follow us around year after year stealing our joy and happiness. They whisper lies…you’re not good enough, you’re weak, you’re less than. The faith that my Eastern sisters have isone of necessity, it is day to day-moment by moment-breath by breath faith. In the West we often lack this kind of faith because we are driven back to the belief that we can fix our situations that we are the creators of our lives. We believe our doubts and doubt our faith. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Jesus tells us, “My grace is enough for you: for where there is weakness, my power is shown the more completely.” For those of us in the West with a plethora of distractions, quick fixes, and self-reliance we lack what the East has at its disposal…trust. Hope draws its power from a deep trust in God; one that has been tested over time and one that has not come up lacking. The West is a culture of instant gratification and we have often learned to trust in the things of this world to fill us up other than God; relationships, food, sex, money, success, alcoholism, materialism, consumerism, workaholism…and any other “ism” you can think of. When we reach for something other than God we lose the one thing that directly relates to joy and faith and that is dependence on God and God alone. I’m not saying that addictions do not occur in the East, they do, but people do not have the means to rely on purchasing their reliance as consistently as in the West. The women I met only have God and each other. It is the same reality that led the psalmist to proclaim, “I have no hope except in you.” (Psalm 25:5)
Total dependence for our every need humbles the heart and it is particularly difficult for the Western world for there is an abundance of resources to depend on and it creates in us a false sense of independence which limits our relationship with God and with each other. The women I met actively expected God to be present with them and they had eyes to see and ears to hear which were not drowned out by the world. Simply put a life without total dependence is a hopeless end but with Christ in all things it is an endless hope.
To read the final post in this series, please go here.
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