Monday, August 23, 2010

Singing Songs of Faith

One of the reasons so many people like to read the Psalms of the Bible is because they can find hope there. The writer of the sixteenth Psalm gives us an example. He saw a flicker of hope when he considered the nobility of people in whom God takes delight. He wrote, “As for the saints in the land, they are the noble, in whom is all my delight” (Ps. 16:3 RSV).

The Apostle John concluded that “everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he [God] is pure (I John 3:2-3). William G. Schell penned a song of faith that I have sung for decades. As desperate as life sometimes seems, Schell reflects the audacity of the Christian hope: as followers of Christ, we look [by faith] beyond the circumstances of our mortality and we see a resurrection.

In that resurrection, we see life conquering death [eternal Spring]. As believers, our hope guides our faith and lifts us like a Boeing 767 high above the smog of hopelessness that we observe around us. Suggested Schell:

Blessed hope we have within us is an anchor to the soul,
It is both steadfast and sure;
It is founded on the promises of Father’s written word,
And ‘twill ever-more endure.
We have a hope within our souls,
Brighter than the perfect day:
God has given us His Spirit,
And we want the world to hear it,
All our doubts are passed away.1

Harold grew up in a parsonage, son of pioneer Church of God pastor-evangelist E. H. Arendt.. Like the Psalmist, Harold observed Godly people and noted their saintly lives. He saw how God blessed them. Filled with this “blessed hope” that Schell described so well, Harold chose the life of faith.

He worked his way to a solid education. He drove truck, then became a baker. He clerked in a grocery store and did piece work in a factory. He proved dependable and non-assuming and persevered to obtain his Doctor of Education degree, after which he invested his life in public education.

With quiet devotion, Harold poured his best years into his pupils and his faith. One day, a telephone caller informed him “I’m the boy who started the fire. I’m now a teacher in the public schools and I thought you would like to know that you are the one who inspired me to be a teacher.”

Harold remembered when their star football player admitted starting a fire in a box of shavings in the new industrial arts facility. Harold had, without fanfare, walked directly to the sink, filled a bucket with water, doused the flames and quietly returned to his desk. It came to light only when the troubled youth admitted “I had never seen you excited and I wanted to see what you would do when you were excited.”

Harold’s quiet consistency aroused that young student, inspiring him to become a teacher like the man he admired. Hope has inspired multitudes to new levels of living beyond themselves, filled with hope in the One who promises hope as “the way. . .the truth, and the life“ (John 14:6, NASV).

Hope began with our eternal beginnings. Hope inspires human hearts. Moreover, people are inspired when they see hope shining through the windows of a human life that is open on the God-ward side. As the songwriter said, “We Have a Hope.”
1 William G. Schell, “We Have a Hope.” (Anderson: Warner Press, Inc., 1989), p. 727.

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