“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death” – Nelson Mandela
I sit here and think on this day celebrated in commemoration of the Great Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (“Mandela”)!
There have been many triumphs that would have made his heart soar, but also many tragedies. One of the most beautiful gifts he left behind was the gift of Hope, Peace and Love. He also embedded in the hearts of many that no matter what your circumstances may appear to be, and no matter what others may take from you, they can NEVER take away your ability to love and have hope in our fellow man.
We look around today and we are surrounded by a society that seems to sap the hope right from our hearts if we would let it. Just this week with the unrest and wars in the Middle East, not to mention the other not as abundantly covered wars around the rest of the globe, and the downing of another commercial airliner, we sit in wonder of it all. In one instant the lives of 298 beautiful children of God were cut short and for what? And we say “what hope is there?” With man, truly left on our own, this would be true but thank God that we have the promise of something better, something greater, something that if we could take it all in in human terms would overwhelm us. We look at the words:
“Look at my Servant.
See my Chosen One.
He is my Beloved, in whom my soul delights.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
And he will judge the nations.
He does not fight nor shout;
He does not raise his voice!
He does not crush the weak,
Or quench the smallest hope;
He will end all conflict with his final victory,
And his name shall be the hope
Of all the world.” – Matt 12:18-21 (TLB)
Without the very word of God bestowed upon us I’ll be the first to admit that having hope in this world would be nearly impossible. With all the promises to be fulfilled we can find rest AND hope that…
“But in the latter days it shall come to pass that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains; and it shall be exalted above the hills, and peoples shall flow to it.
And many nations shall come and say, Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us His ways, and we may walk in His paths. For the law shall go forth out of Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
And He shall judge between many peoples and shall decide for strong nations afar off, and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and none shall make them afraid, for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken it.
For all the peoples [now] walk every man in the name of his god, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever.
In that day, says the Lord, I will assemble the lame, and I will gather those who have been driven away and those whom I have afflicted.
And I will make the lame a remnant, and those who were cast off a strong nation; and the Lord shall reign over them in Mount Zion from this time forth and forever. – Micah 4:1-7 (AMP)
I pray that as we ponder today that we remember the amazing legacy of Mr. Mandela and all those that have left their marks in the hearts of so many. Of course I don’t know, as he spent time incarcerated just for believing and striving for something better for his fellow man, if he read and pondered on the following chapter from 1st Corinthians, but my heart tells me that he very well might have…
“If I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God’s love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
And if I have prophetic powers (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody).
Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or [in order that I may glory, but have not love (God’s love in me), I gain nothing.
Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.
It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].
It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.
Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].
Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. As for prophecy (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [it will lose its value and be superseded by truth].
For our knowledge is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect), and our prophecy (our teaching) is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect).
But when the complete and perfect (total) comes, the incomplete and imperfect will vanish away (become antiquated, void, and superseded).
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside.
For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as [in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understandfully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have beenfully and clearly known and understood by God.
And so faith, hope, love abide [faith—conviction and belief respecting man’s relation to God and divine things; hope—joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love—true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Cor 13 (AMP)
You can see evidence of so much of the above in the life and love he gave. May we also remember to continue on the legacy of Hope, Peace and Love for one another through our Lord and God.
Be Forever Blessed,
To learn more about Mr. Mandela I’m inserting the following link to the wiki on him. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelson_Mandela)
All scripture references are from biblegateway.com