Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you…”
Sometimes we look for hope in the everyday ordinary things. (First things first, what you are about to read is not sugarcoated, it’s about to get real. This is not meant to be opinionated about any political or media view, just a look at reality.) We go through life on cruise control or autopilot sometimes, especially if day to day life is “normal”. We get comfortable and complacent, and use words like “I’m content”, or “It’s all good!” But when things spiral out of control we forget about “hope” or we search for it desperately like it’s a quick fix, shot in the arm kind of drug that can fix our problems so easily. We cry out to God when things in our world come crashing down, everyone says “Prayers Appreciated”, or “Please Pray” in difficult times of need. But when the sun is shining and everything is “normal” we forget to pray sometimes or even speak to God. There’s a quote by C.S. Lewis that comes to mind when I think of the ups and downs of life; “We can ignore even pleasure. Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
So what happens when you or a loved one gets diagnosed with cancer or some other terminal illness with just months to live? Or when your child is disrespectful and belligerent, going against everything you raised them to be? Or you develop an addiction that has you bound in chains? Or you feel scared and alone in an unplanned pregnancy? Your boyfriend breaks up with you when you were honestly expecting a ring, or your devoted husband of many years decides he wants a divorce? You are struggling to take care of your family-meaning your children and your aging mother with Alzheimer’s who doesn’t even remember you, her loving daughter? Your best friend or close family member passes away? Or how about losing your job? Losing your home in a natural disaster? Life is full of ups and downs, unexpected events and catastrophes that can take the wind out of your sails, and pretty much leave you knocked down on the cold hard ground that is until you decide to GET BACK UP…
We see on the news daily, robberies, gangs, drug deals, children being hurt and molested, car accidents, police officers and first responders under attack, plane crashes, school shootings, abortion, racism rising up, Christians under intense persecution, and war on terrorism, Constitutional Rights being challenged and taken away. What in the world is going on? What ever happened to love? SO MUCH CONFUSION. SO MUCH HURT. SO MUCH PAIN. We wonder when it will end. Or will it ever end? We sometimes even question God and His sovereignty, we ask things like “Why did God let this happen?!” We begin sometimes doubt our faith that we’ve known for so long. Doubt is sometimes a healthy part of growing our faith…to wrestle with life and its questions–to challenge our faith. Remember this word: GROW, tuck it in the back of your mind while reading the rest of this. Sometimes we are just searching for some tiny bit of good news, and other times it’s as if we are waiting for the other shoe to drop. In South Carolina, just a few weeks ago…October 4, 2015 a devastating catastrophic flood came sweeping in after days and days of rain, even though the weather alerts had warned about flash flooding no one expected what they call “A Thousand Year Flood” meaning no one has seen flood waters so destructive in 1000 years! Roads washed away, bridges buckling, dams breaking and busting forth washing out everything in their path. Businesses, homes, and lives were lost. But through every struggle, throughout the past year South Carolina has remained strong and stood together, united. Neighbors helping neighbors, strangers became friends. Everyone needs hope, in some way, shape or form.
I’m pretty sure Noah felt like all hope was gone when he saw the world around him crashing and crumbling into a pattern of sin. The truth is we live in a fallen, imperfect, broken world. Some things are completely out of our control, others are consequences of our own personal battles and decisions. The first we call, life and nature. The second we can call “mistakes” or sin, but we can also look back and call them growing pains and lessons learned. Sometimes in life we have to face storms, whether literal torrential rains or personal cloudy days filled with lightning and thunder in our hearts. I’ve heard it said before, “Sometimes we create our own storms, and get mad when it rains.” But the fact of the matter is without clouds how can we appreciate the sunshine? The SON is always shining. Every storm will finally run out of rain. Rains will eventually stop. But in all honesty, think about why do we need rain? Rain gives life to plants, trees, flowers and helps crops grow. Seeds, without being watered will not bloom or grow, they’ll die of thirst. We know in John 4, Jesus speaks to the woman at the well about living water. That Samaritan woman was searching for hope, something to quench her never-ending thirst. Water not only gives life, it washes away dirt and impurities. John the Baptist, Jesus and the disciples baptized people in water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Living Water cleanses us of our old life, the old us before Jesus came into our lives, the hurt, the pain, the past. Baptism represents new life. The blood of Jesus paid the price and washed our sins away….water provides the thirst to grow. I think of Peter and the other disciples shaking in their boat as the waves crashed around them, and in the midst of the chaotic ocean walks Jesus ON THE WATER! Can you imagine seeing that?! Jesus can calm the storm! Just reach for His hand; He’s the best lifeguard you’ll ever know! Sometimes when the flood gates open wide and the storms comes crashing in, hope comes flooding in also. Next time you face a storm, remember the One who controls raindrops and where they fall. Let the rain fall down and cleanse your heart and soul, refreshing your spirit. Hope comes in the midst of difficult times; hope comes in the day-to-day pleasures. Hope can be found when you least expect it. Hope springs forth, coming in like a flood…one that you want to get swept away in!
your sister, Heather