Hope Ahead

Spring is just around the bend.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

During the current COVID-19 pandemic and economic uncertainty this verse gives us hope and reassurance. It all turns on love. We can love God because He first loved us. We can trust Him because He is faithful, even when we have been faithless. We can put our hope in Jesus, because His name means God saves (Matt1:21).

I realize that some hurts run very deep (like death in the family), and I don’t expect this verse to miraculously change your tears to joy, but loving God will plant the seeds of hope, and trust… and just knowing there is purpose… helps.

From the Depths

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His Deep calling to my deep

Grief is a deep dark pit, where no sunlight can reach. When you are there no good thing seems possible, and death is all you hear.

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me. Psalm 42:5-7

It is in my grief that God’s Deepness calls to my deep pit. God’s waves and breakers crash upon me—letting me know He is with me, His goodness will prevail, and His love will hold onto me through eternity.

When God’s waves break over me I begin to hear His voice over the din of my sorrow.

I will never leave you.
Roars from the crashing water.
My love endures forever.
Smashes upon my darkness
I will carry you and dry your tears.
Splits the rocks that tower over me.

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:11

Joy in the Storm

Snow storm in the Tumwater Canyon

Joy after a storm

Joy is a blessing of highest order.
Like rays of sunshine warming what ever it touches.
Yet it disappears with the slightest disturbance.
Why is something so good so fragile?
Joy runs at the first hint of trouble.
It is easily hidden by clouds of struggle,
And overwhelmed by the slightest ripple in life.
Joy dies whenever grief rolls in.
Is there a way to hold on to it through all life’s trials?
Once a year we celebrate the joy of Christmas, propping it up with presents.
But the bright packages prove futile against the doldrums of winter.
Maybe the problem is:
We seek the ephemeral joy instead of the eternal.
Settle for a hint of joy rather than push on to the fullness of joy.
Run after a gift instead of the giver.
Worship the created instead of the creator.

In Your presence is fullness of joy.  Psalm 16:11

Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.  Luke 2:10-11

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.  John 15:9-11

Heavenly Vision

Heavenly Vision

Phil Yancey in his book on prayer, mentions that Jesus prayed in difficult circumstances as a reminder of His true home.

“And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 21:41-42)

When I take a photo of a beautiful scene it reminds me that I am longing for a better place. A home where there is no evil, no death, and no destruction. A place where life is all it was created to be. The photograph becomes a prayer: a reminder of my true home.

Grief, in some sense, is also a longing for a place where death does not touch those we love, where suffering ceases and life can be truly enjoyed. Our grief then becomes a prayer: a reminder of our true home.