But we are not among those who shrink back and so are lost, but among those who have faith and so are saved. Hebrews 10:30
A Word of Hope
I have an ambivalent relationship with the word “saved.” Maybe you do as well. I am “saved.” I think I still have the Bible somewhere in which I wrote the date on which I was saved. The only thing I remember about this now is that I was in middle school when I walked forward during the “altar call” at a minor league Billy Graham type crusade (I think it was Rev. Graham’s brother-in-law.)
I was officially “saved” but from what? This Hebrews text offers an interesting perspective on that. Earlier verses make clear that if we are “saved” we don’t “shrink back.” When we don’t shrink back, the text says, we are ready to endure hard struggles, to partner with those who abused and persecuted us, to have compassion for those in prison (even if they don’t “deserve” it.) Being saved, according to Hebrews means we know that we “possess something better and more lasting” than any material possession. In other words, being saved is having endurance fueled by hope and confidence in God’s promises. It means doing the right thing even though it is hard and may require us to work with people we’d rather not encounter. If we’re “lost” we live in fear and lack of clarity. We let the “what if’s” limit us and doubts define us. We allow ourselves to sit on our hands as we quietly console ourselves with the thought that anything we do won’t amount to much anyhow.
So today I confess I am still lost in many ways. I am praying for the strength to stop shrinking back. As my confession and prayer today, I write my own take on Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s poem “I Am Waiting.”
I am waiting for hope and confidence to outshine my shrinking back
and for dreams of what-could-be to kick my butt
I am waiting to see and waiting to do what is beyond my doubts and fears.
I am waiting to start wondering what am I waiting for.
I am waiting to put down my possessions,
my every-day routine and
start showing up at places where people are lonely, hungry or sick,
places where creation is being mistreated.
And I am waiting to get disgusted with my waiting.
I am waiting to be saved and to save myself from waiting. Lord, I want to hope and act, help my waiting.