What Do We Have Plenty Of?
by Annie Westbrook
(name changed for security reasons)
If there is anything I
have learned in recent days which I have found to be
uncompromisingly true, it is that the Hope that comes from
Jesus Christ is it’s own spiritual creature. You will have a
hard time predicting it. You can't conjure it up. And it
cannot, ever, be stopped.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy
and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with
hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
What makes me hopeful these days? Hope.
Hope itself is the fuel of the faith realm and I’ve been
blessed to be encountering it in bucket loads. Let me share
with you some snapshots of God’s nonsensical hope.
I am currently the Salvation Army soldier
in my country of residence. That's because we’re not legally
recognized by the government yet. Small ministries that are
happening in prisons and communities in various provinces are
all, as of now, under the table. I have two of the most
amazing Officers. By God's careful preparatory hand they are
native to this country and passionate to open fire for their
own people and nation. Having been trained and having served
in the West for over a decade, their perspective and
understanding of different cultures is invaluable. Their
giftings in the Spirit are so balanced and wide ranging. They
are the wind of God’s hope that has been blowing a storm
through my life.
Our Sunday worship and prayer meetings are
at the quarters. Sometimes it's just me and my Officers.
Sometimes there are other beautiful believers we are praying
will join us as Officers in the future. Three and a half years
into the mission here, on the day our paperwork was finally
completed with everything in order and submitted to the
government, the oldest son of my Officers here (who has still
been living back in the West) was the victim of a brutal acid
He came close to death, but God spared him.
In the months since he has had over 30 surgeries on his entire
body and has not yet been given permission to leave the
Intensive Care unit.
So our team of 3 became a team of 2 as Mrs.
Major left the country to support her son and everything
seemed to be falling apart. But hope.
“Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.”
God gave me this verse of scripture
recently. The words have never been more alive to me as I have
witnessed my Officers praising God through unthinkable
circumstances. I heard prayers yelled at full screaming
capacity believing for healing for my Officer’s son,
forgiveness for the one who attacked him, redemption for a
crime, and ultimate glory to God through what has happened.
There has never once been a complaint. They have been thanking
God and claiming his strength and peace and Hope everyday.
On the days when “church” meetings are just
me and my Officer, I really cherish these moments. Why?
Because I get to sit with a servant of God, in the country of
his birth and salvation, and listen to him speak so
passionately about his dreams and visions of what God is going
to do here through the Army. My rational self can see nothing
but an uphill battle. We have no soldiers, Officers, converts,
buildings, recognition, reputation, or legal permission to
operate, to name a few. Our application could be rejected.
Nothing could happen. Or everything could happen. In light of
all the Hope we have in Christ, It’s kind of refreshing to sit
in the chair of all or nothing possibilities.
What do we have plenty of? Hope. Certainly
not our own or anything that can be generated by human will or
foresight. It's a hope straight from the source- the One who
makes Shepherd boys kings, virgins mother, and persecutors
What can we base this hope on? Nothing but
the promises of God, the witnesses of the Saints who have
walked before us, and the prophetic dreaming of those who dare
to access it today.
There is no Corps/ Division/ Territory “too
far gone” that cannot be revived by it. It thrives in the most
unexpected and surprising of places. Go seeking it where
you're certain It’s absent. I guarantee its’ face will show.
Most of all, take time in silence to be animated by it and
start leaving a trail of ridiculous, holy Hope behind you.
I am hopeful. Because although the Army is
so imperfect and will likely hurt and disappoint us while we
serve in its ranks, I LOVE this Army. And as nonsensically as
God loves a faithless me, I will love Him through His Army to
my dying day. Regardless of who is in leadership, and the sin
that always threatens to enter in, I can proclaim that God's
hope is unstoppable. God will open fire in this nation. Many
will be healed. My eyes will see the glory of the coming of