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This is a story that was sent to me by a good friend ... (I didn't write this, but I find it quite "sermon-worthy")

It is offered here in guise of the Sermon that I didn't have the time to produce for this evening's Live Service :

 

Despair, according to Hope

 

Once a man was caught in deep waters and despairing he thrashed around, going under the waters again and again…  At the end of his strength and despairing for his life, seeing the end he cried out for help.


On the shore a man heard his cry and picking his way carefully along the rocks drew near. «Help me» cried the drowning man as he slipped below into the darkness, the other man watched for a moment then smiled softly, «why are you fighting» He asked. «I am drowning, help me» cried the other, unable to understand why the man safe on the rocks was doing nothing. «instead of fighting, be one with the flow.» Replied the other. The drowning man slipped below again, but this time he didn't thrash around and instead of fighting the waters, worked with it to allow the flow to carry him to the rocks.

 
Helping him up out of the waters, he gazed at the man. « I could of drowned.»


«Yes» smiled the other, «but in changing just the way you moved your arms, working with instead of fighting you saved yourself. »


The other shook his head, «I couldn't get out, the waters were too much, too deep, too strong. »
«No» The other sat beside the exhausted man, «no» he repeated softly, «your struggles made the waters more choppy and overwhelming.. When you stopped fighting so much, and worked with your own strength and used the waters to help instead of hinder. You saw that inside of yourself is all you need; you hold the tools to your own salvation and to your own despair. You just needed the stormy waters to free your potential. »


«Thank you» said the other as the man stood. «Don't thank me, life will drag you back again, even here on these rocks safety is not ensured. »


The seated man looked around, «then maybe it would of been better to let the darkness take me.»
«Really?» The other crouched down and pointed to rocks, « even here life endures, struggles don't diminish life, they bring out the beauty within. The strength and wonder that is the essence of being. »


He stood again and looked out over the waters. « who are you ? » Asked the seated man and the other glanced down then back at the waters, «No one important. » He smiled and this time the other returned his smile. « But you can call me hope. » He stepped away, « when you despair and sink within the darkness, remember you alone hold within you the tools you need to reach the light, sometimes just seeing things in a different way can bring hope. »