Monday, 23 July 2007

A camping experience and a message of Hope

This weekend, I was blessed to hear an amazing and inspiring message at OCF Caulfield's Annual July camp, held at Lyrebird camp site, located 300 kms south-east of Melbourne. The camp in itself was an exhilarating experience and it was one of the few instances in the year when I managed to keep myself away from a laptop for over 24 hours.

The camp offered excellent lodging facilities and it gave the perfect opportunity for a group of 35 odd young university students and one software guy to bond. Over the last three days, two nights, we all came one step closer to experiencing the magnificent love of Christ, the Lord.

The highlight of the camp, for me was the awe inspiring, immensely practical and throughly relevant message given by Pastor Ted Fabiyanic, from CityLife church, Hobsons Bay.

Pastor Ted spoke on the need and the importance of Hope in our lives. He explained how we were living in an imperfect world and were susceptible to the everyday frailties of life. Even if we believed that we are living according to God's will, misfortune will befall us at times. We may lose money in a business deal, fail an examination, lose a loved one and feel that we have been betrayed and cheated by God.

At such moments, it may not be possible to think clearly and understand God's plan but what we need to do is understand that God does not cause these events to give us pain but 'uses' them to remove our imperfections. HE uses them and give us a choice, a choice to choose and change our life for the better. The past is gone, the future is here.

Living in the past and dwelling on negative moments, bad choices, depressing events will only keep us in the past. What is required is to make a choice, to move forward in the right direction. We have several examples of successful people in our world, who have repeatedly failed before succeeding and when they did succeed, they succeeded big time.

Pastor Ted explained that God has forgotten and forgiven us for all our past mistakes and now only two people remembered them. We, ourselves and Satan.And by continuing to remember our mistakes, we were living in the past and refusing to move forward.

In our journey of life, God is a constant companion. HE is walking not behind or in front of us but alongside us. HE has given us the tools to succeed and to live in Hope and the most significant expression of this promise has been His son, Jesus Christ. God prepared Christ for His mission of giving Hope to the teeming millions. As a part of this mission preparation, Christ suffered on the cross physically and mentally but His worst moment of anguish and suffering came when God left Him alone and lonely on the cross for a moment. For that one instant that Christ was alone,He experienced utter hopelessness and despair.

The reason that God led Christ into this suffering was that He would know and understand the meaning of not having hope before He could become the fountain of Hope himself. After all, one cannot under stand the suffering and pain of another human being, unless one has experienced it first hand.

Pastor Ted used the life giving words of Psalm 23 to recite the promise of Hope that had been given to us by the LORD. He reiterated that God had a plan for us all (Jeremiah 29:11). To implement this plan and succeed in life, we are required to Act and not live in a world of wishful thinking. An important step towards achieving our goals is surround ourself with positive people and shun negativity. It is the will of God that our past doesn't define our future, if we choose it not too.

The choice is ours. We have to make it, starting now.

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