The constant choice we all have between promise and discontent

The Spirit of the Lord God is on me, because the Lord has chosen me to bring good news to poor people. He has sent me to heal those with a sad heart. He has sent me to tell those who are being held and those in prison that they can go free. He has sent me to tell about the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day our God will bring punishment. He has sent me to comfort all who are filled with sorrow.

Isaiah 61:1-2

One of the dangers of this strange 2020 time-warp we live in is what I call creeping discontent, a kind of cumulative retreat into a fixed attitude of resentment, disappointment, and disaffection.

Creeping discontent leaves people not only sad and irritable, but undernourished spiritually, and under a cloud of contagious negativity that sucks enjoyment from day-to-day life.

People with creeping discontent tend to project their negativity onto those around them, as if to justify their own angst. Then, like mold growing on a bathroom wall, everything becomes tainted and toxic.

Live into Joy!

– the Disney moment

But there is an alternative to creeping discontent! The alternative is Resolute Affirmation! I’m talking about the decision to – resolutely, intentionally, and defiantly – live with joy. Or, as the great Jane Huber hymn puts it, Live into Hope! And living into hope translates into living into joy.

Live into hope of captives freed,
Of sight regained, the end of greed.
The oppressed shall be the first to see
The year of God’s own jubilee!

Live into Hope – Jane Parker Huber (1976)

(I will post the entire hymn as a postscript.)

– The Campbells at Disney!

My pictorial illustration of resolute affirmation comes from Florida, where our daughter Naomi’s family decided to take action and have fun regardless.

Covid hit just a week or so after the family moved to Miami, so integrating into their new life has been a real challenge. Like most of America, summer plans were canned, and my memory of growing a young family tells me vacations together are very important – especially as they are expecting number three in early December!

So Tuesday morning Naomi and Craig surprised the children by heading to Disney. The children thought it was a school related “nature preserve field trip” for the day.

The first picture records the moment David and Beks learned the truth! Four days at Disney’s Old Key West Resort in Lake Buena Vista! This image was taken outside the restaurant Tuesday evening.

My point?

My point is simple, yet very important, and I have made it before. It is always our choice either to live with creeping discontent or to live with resolute affirmation.

The gospel message, the good news about Jesus, encourages us to live into hope, and to choose – resolutely – to be positive witnesses to hope and to promise.

– Derek Maul thinks – and writes, in Wake Forest, NC

I have to be honest, friends, if your outlook is defined by creeping discontent – especially if you’re someone who still has a good job, is still making ends meet, and claims to follow Jesus – then you are missing one huge opportunity to be a witness to light and love and to lead others into promise and Joy. You are – as the hymn says, “a captive”. Stop it!

– DEREK

1 Live into hope of captives freed,
Of sight regained, the end of greed.
The oppressed shall be the first to see
The year of God’s own jubilee!

2 Live into hope the blind shall see
With insight and with clarity,
Removing shades of pride and fear–
A vision of our God brought near.

3 Live into hope of liberty,
The right to speak the right to be,
The right to have one’s daily bread,
To hear God’s word and thus be fed.

4 Live into hope of captives freed
From chains of fear or want or greed.
God now proclaims our full release
To faith and hope and joy and peace.

Live into Hope – Jane Parker Huber (1976)

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Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

6 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Hope they had a blast! I haven’t been to Disney since I worked there in 2010. I really miss it. Thanks for the great reminder that we need to choose Joy because she brings us hope, contentment, and so much more!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. haha, I wish. I got manipulated in to thinking I would be a character attendant and instead was stuck in the costuming dept. in Animal Kingdom…however, after a month it wasn’t so bad. My favorite part? I got to help with dress changes for the Nemo show!

    Liked by 1 person

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