The following guest post was written by Mercy Church member, John Eskidge.
“…and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5
Disappointment is an emotion with which I am well acquainted. I would hazard a guess that we all are. There is certainly a wide range of disappointing experiences we encounter and the intensity of disappointment varies greatly. My disappointment over having to eat at Moe’s instead of Chipotle to appease a friend does not have quite the same effect on my day that receiving a bad survey from a customer does. More often than I care to admit, the feeling of disappointment can end up dictating the rest of my day. Praise God though that the hope he offers us in Christ does NOT disappoint! Christ IS our hope in this life and serving at Hope Haven has proven to be a gracious reminder of that beautiful truth.
As I was reflecting over the numerous ways in which God has been at work at Hope Haven, the culmination of my ruminations seemed to be summed up in the name “Hope Haven” itself. A haven of hope. Meriam Webster’s dictionary defines the word haven as, ‘a place of safety: refuge’ or ‘a place offering favorable opportunities or conditions.’ The word actually has nautical origins as being synonymous with a port or harbor or other sheltered place for shipping. The etymology is too precise not to bring to one’s attention! My experience of Hope Haven thus far has largely mirrored this definition. The Lord has molded Hope Haven into being a safe harbor for chemically dependent adults and families to find peace and refuge from the storms of addiction. Even after just a few visits, it is evident there is an air of hope that seems to permeate the environment; a fertile field of sorts in which the crop is ripe for harvesting.
So what evidence is there for this aforementioned haven of hope and the subsequent work that the Lord seems to have prepared for His people? I thought you would never ask. After a few service opportunities our community group has been involved a part of over the past year, the Lord has already saved one man from Hope Haven. A few of us have had the privilege of discipling this man and exploring what it means to pursue Christ faithfully. There has been abundant joy in walking through life with a fellow brother in Christ and sharing deep truths that God has so lovingly revealed to us in our own lives. He now regularly attends Mercy with his family most weekends. In addition to his salvation, another Mercy member has built a relationship with a young woman that is now resulting in the beginning of a women’s bible study – another door opened for lost men and women to hear the Gospel, respond in faith to the Lord’s call, and be trained up in righteousness.
God is at work at Hope Haven, Mercy Church. He has been at work there for years and has now graciously extended an invitation for us to join in HIS work. While self-sacrifice is non-negotiable if we are to follow Christ faithfully and minister to these men and women, it is full of blessed hope. We know that because Christ is our hope and our work in Him is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58). It’s the same hope Paul spoke of in Romans 5 that God has poured into our hearts. Will you join me, Mercy Church, in this work the Lord has prepared for us and sharing the hope of nations with his lost children? I can promise you it won’t disappoint.