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Emptying The Box


Come with me for a moment down memory lane.  Back to high school when we studied Greek mythology.  The strange and wonderful stories that portrayed real life truths or lessons.

Remember the story of Pandora’s Box?  Maybe you don’t remember the details of the story, but most of us are familiar with the moral of the story.  Let’s refresh…

Once upon a time, Zeus ordered Hephaestus (Aphrodite’s husband) to make him a daughter. It would be the first woman made out of clay. Hephaestus made a beautiful woman and named her Pandora. 

Zeus sent his new daughter, Pandora, down to earth so that she could marry Epimetheus. 

Zeus wasn’t being thoughtful; he was getting even. Epimetheus and Prometheus were brothers. Zeus was angry at Prometheus, for giving people fire without first asking Zeus’ permission.  

Zeus gave Pandora a box with a heavy lock on it. He made her promise never to open the box. He gave the key to Pandora’s husband and told him to never open the box. Zeus was certain that Epimetheus’ curiosity would get the better of him, and that either Epimetheus or his brother would eventually open the box. His plan all along.

Pandora was extremely curious. She desperately wanted to see what was inside the box, but Epimetheus warned her not to.

One day, when Epimetheus lay sleeping, Pandora stole the key and opened the box.

Out flew every kind of disease and sickness, hate and envy, and all the evil that mankind had never experienced before. Pandora slammed the lid closed, but it was too late. Everything was already out of the box. They flew away, off to impact the rest of the world.

Epimetheus woke up to the sound of her sobbing.  Pandora confessed to what she’d done and opened the box to show him how empty it was. 

Now, this is as far as I ever thought the story went.  That we are merely left with the story that warns us not to venture into the forbidden, not to open Pandora’s box, because once it is opened and everything is released there is no taking it back and putting it back within the safety and security of that box.

Which is fine if you and I have never opened that box.  If we have never let curiosity or rebellion or whatever it was that led Pandora to do the irretrievable, the irreparable.

But for those of us who HAVE opened that box, no matter what it might be, from the secrets no one sees to the missteps clearly visible, this story is depressing.  We have already experienced that there is no way to undo what has been done.  No way to magically make those poor choices disappear.

But the story DOESN’T end there!

Pandora opened the lid, looked back in that box and in the very bottom was something she hadn’t seen in the commotion and fear of the moment that everything flew loose.

A small butterfly of HOPE.  HOPE! It thanked her as it left the box and flew out to address the mess that had escaped earlier.

HOPE, not despair, is the end of Pandora’s story.  And though we don’t get the full picture as to how it all ends up, we feel uplifted with the notion that HOPE has been released to do its thing.  That all is not lost.  That there can be a lovely ending.

And isn’t that just another version of the story of creation and salvation?  Eve’s curiosity/rebellion leading her to partaking of the forbidden fruit and exposing the world to all of the sin and yuck that came as a result.  But that wasn’t the end of the story.  God didn’t let that be the end of the story.  Hope came in the form of Jesus who would one day go to the cross and eliminate the power of sin and death.  We were given the opportunity to experience forgiveness, mercy and grace.  A renewed relationship with God Himself.  HOPE.

And this should be our mantra today. When we see the condition of the world, the condition of our own hearts, we should remember that the story doesn’t end with the yuck.  HOPE has come and been released.  Its butterfly wings have and will continue to defeat sin and death’s feeble arms in the wrestling match of life.

Maybe you already knew the real end of Pandora’s story.  Maybe I did, too, and just forgot.

But I’ll never forget again.  Hope will ALWAYS be the end of the story…

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18  So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Romans 5:2-5 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

 Romans 8:24-25 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

1 Peter 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Romans 15:13  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

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