a scarlet cord of hope

My precious friend Mary Kathryn recently posted on the subject of hope.

Hope, she said, is sandwiched between faith and love.  Such a beautiful picture.

And it so happens that my favorite verse has the word hope in it…

For I know the plans I have for you,”

declares the LORD,

“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,

plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

I always love doing word studies so MK’s post prompted me to look up that word for hope in the original Hebrew to see what it said.

I was so blessed by what I found.

In Jeremiah 29:11, the original word for hope was tiqvah, which figuratively means to expect, hope, think, live, or thing I long for.  But here’s where I got blown away.  Tiqvah also literally means cord (as an attachment.)

It so happens that the word translated hope in Jeremiah 29:11 is elsewhere translated as cord in the story of Rahab (Joshua 2).  Joshua sent spies into Jericho to check out the place before he sent in all the troops.  Rahab, who was a prostitute in Jericho, hid the spies in her home and didn’t give them away even when the king of Jericho sent men to look for them.  When the spies left to go back to Joshua, they told Rahab to hang a scarlet cord from her window and if she did, they would spare her and her family when they came back with their army to attack.

The scarlet cord – the tiqvah – was her salvation from destruction.  It was her only hope.

I find this to be so cool, because it would seem that here is just another example of God hinting at His plan for us…of another time to come where He would give us The Blessed Hope whose scarlet blood would pour forth to bring us salvation.

In Jeremiah some versions say “I know the plans I have for you,” and others “I know the thoughts I think towards you,” but either way that verb progression there literally means “to weave.”

I know what I’m weaving for you.

And this scarlet tiqvah woven by the blood of my Son will be your salvation.  It will save you from destruction, it will be your hope…and by it you shall be bound to Me.

He’s been telling the story since the beginning, winding and weaving the scarlet cord all throughout His word, creating a beautiful tapestry of redemption so that we might have hope.  What an amazing God…

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Swimming in the Jordan

I was reminded yesterday of a dream I had a while back.  I was walking in this huge yawning hallway, reminiscent of a cathedral but empty.  The walls were made of stone and they stretched up to reach the arched ceiling that seemed to be a mile high.  As I walked down this hall, I came to a place in the floor that was open and as I looked down into the opening, I could see water flowing underneath the floor.  The water was clear and I could see smooth round pebbles on the bottom.  As I looked up, there was a gentleman standing there and when I asked where this water came from, he responded, “this is part of the Jordan river.  It flows under this church, you know.  See, look outside.”  As I turned and peered out of one of the tall windows in stone wall, I could see the Jordan sparkling in the sun.  I ran outside of the church and stopped at the bank of the river.  For a moment I just gazed at the water, and then I walked in.  I swam out towards the middle and just floated in the water.  And then suddenly it hit me, I’m swimming in the same water Jesus was baptized in.  And I began weeping at this realization.  I was where Christ had been…in the same water…and I could feel His presence there so strongly.  And so I just floated there in the water with Him.  And it was so peaceful. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished to have that same dream again.  In this busy crazy world, with all the noise and all the hurry, it’s so hard to find that quiet moment with our precious Lord to just…be.  So imagine my surprise when I heard my Father’s voice above the noise of the TV blaring and my two sons having Wrestlemania 95 in the den and the phone ringing and the Blackberry dinging…

The Jordan is more than just a place of peace…it’s a place of transition.  

Um, what?

Transition.  And transition brings waiting.  Wait with Me?

Wait for what, God?

Shhhh…just float.

It took me a little time to process that.  Thankfully, my amazing husband took my sweet boys to dinner to give me a little quiet time to think…and type of course.  After leaving Egypt and then wandering around in the wilderness, the Israelites finally crossed the Jordan into the land God promised (Joshua 3).  And of course, Jesus was baptized in the Jordan and was immediately led by the Spirit into the wilderness after which He began His ministry (Mark 1:9-13).  Elijah and Elisha crossed over the Jordan just before Elijah was taken into heaven and Elisha crossed back over the Jordan and took on the cloak of Elijah and became his successor (2 Kings 2).  So yes then…it does seem that the Jordan is about transition.  But I’m not so excited about the waiting part.  I’m all for transitions, God.  Um, I mean as long as they end up somewhere good.  Ahem.  But I’m not a good wait-er.  I was then reminded of one of my favorite verses:

But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength;

They shall mount up with wings like eagles,

They shall run and not be weary,

They shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31

 

Sometimes God has us in places of transition and with these transitions, there must be a time of waiting.  But that waiting isn’t ever wasted.  It isn’t God withholding anything from us.  It’s a time of preparation.  A time for us to renew our strength, to draw near to our Beloved, to sometimes just, well…float.  We aren’t just waiting ON the Lord, we are waiting WITH Him.  His presence is there in the blue-green water, swirling around us.  Spirit and Truth, refreshing us as we swim in His grace.  And as you float with the Ancient of Days in the cool waters of the Jordan, you can know with a peace that passes all understanding that He has a plan for you, a transition that will come…but for now, He may just want to wait with you.  So, shhh…just float.

I don’t know Him…

When Jesus started calling Peter “Peter” it was because He said Peter was the rock on which the church would be built.  (Peter means “rock” by the way.)  Peter is in fact considered to be the first pope by the Catholic church. 

Ok but wait, isn’t Peter the one who denied Jesus just prior to the crucifixion?  Not just once but three times??  Yep, that was him.

Have you ever really considered the fact that Jesus already knew that was going to happen before He ever even met Peter face to face?  That when Jesus said to him – upon you Peter, I will build My church – Jesus already knew then that Peter would blatantly deny Him in the face of adversity. 

I don’t know Him.

That’s what Peter said when questioned. 

Yet even in knowing this about His disciple, Jesus didn’t deny Peter the opportunity to serve Him.  Although Jesus rebuked Peter sometimes, He never took away his place in the ministry of the gospel.

I don’t know Him, he said.

Peter was a common fisherman.  A Jewish man who wasn’t good enough to make it through rabbi school.  But Jesus saw something in him.  Jesus saw past Peter’s loud mouth, his quick temper, his arrogance.  Jesus even saw past the moment that Peter would pretty much chunk Him under the bus to save his own skin.  Jesus saw past all Peter’s mistakes and straight into his heart.  He saw Peter through  grace-colored  glasses.

I don’t know Him.

And I can see Jesus thinking to Himself,

you say you don’t know Me…

but you will

I have great plans for you, Peter.  Yep, big big plans.

He’s got big plans for you too.

And He’s still wearing those grace specs.