Vincent Van Gogh
Sadness can sometimes overwhelm us and seem to rain deep, abiding darkness over our hearts. Mamas carry so very much on their shoulders in this very fallen place. I am so deeply sorry for the events of today in Boston, and Iraq. My heart has gone out to them and my prayers for their comfort have been flying from my heart all day.I wish I could take a meal, embrace and comfort one of these precious ones.
In no way, do I want to diminish the suffering of so many dear ones who are in the throes of tragedy.
Yet, I have seen in so many tragic situations where woman seem to have this innate ability to mount up over dire circumstances to bring hope, redemption and life in the midst.
Faith is the glory of a woman when she could choose to fear, or quit or despair, but instead chooses to believe against all odds.
"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1
We take it in our hearts to choose hope--hope that our faith will be justified, because we believe that God is real, He is loving, He is powerful and He will have the last word.
“Only a Christian has a right to hope, for only he has the power of God to give substance to his hope…Earth is bearable because there is hope."
Throughout history, the battle between light and darkness has ebbed and flowed with horrible acts of violence and wickedness being perpetrated on undeserving, innocent lives. But stories have also been told of the many heroes who entered into such battle and stood in harms way to protect those who were frail, to battle against evil and to stand forth for the right.
It seems that the incidents of violence, tragedy and killings have filled the stories of our lives in this century. Even in the past few months, our family has been surrounded by a several untimely deaths of precious ones who have taken their lives at too early an age.
We have all felt such deep sorrow and empathy for those who have lost loved ones, even in Boston today, in Iraq, where real people and families have been destroyed, and who have had to bear these tragedies in a more personal way.
Try as we may, we cannot make control this world or subdue all that is evil. And yet, as believers we must come to God and His word for our answers. The world around us is longing for a word of hope, a reason to keep going, a comfort to their shattered dreams and overwhelming sense of grief.
What if we are moving towards the last times and what if God has chosen you and your family to live through a very difficult time in history, because He trusted you to be able to live a story of faith, to look to Him for hope, to comfort those who are longing to feel the loving arms of God wrapped around their necks?
A friend of mine who is a Bible teacher once said that she thinks some of the greatest people who have ever lived are alive now. The reason being that it requires so much faith, strength, Biblical perspective and focus on Jesus to live through difficult times.
We read in Revelation, that Satan, knowing his time is short, will pour out his wrath on the earth. The gospels tell us that in the last days, even the elect will be tempted to fall away. And we know that people's love will grow cold from reading in Matthew.
The concept of being "over-comers" is used 28 times in scripture--those who overcome evil with good; those who overcome temptation, overcome difficulties, overcome spiritual battle. To overcome means to conquer, to vanquish evil.
For whatever reason, God has seen fit to allow us to be born in this time. We know that throughout Biblical history, there were many who lived in fear--the Israelites who were afraid of the giants in the land; the army of Israel when they faced Goliath and many more stories. Yet, God was on the side of those who chose to believe in Him against all odds, to take steps of faith to bring His light into the darkness.
Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for and hope for and expect the Lord! Psalm 31: 24
What if God is calling us to come in the name of the Lord of Hosts and instead of running away from the battle, He is asking us to run into the battle head long because we believe that the Lord of Hosts is with us, and that in the end, He will prevail.
What if we are called today, to be strong--to make the faith choice to let our hearts take courage?
Joel noted today, that instead of adults just running away from the bomb, many ran into the storm of chaos to help, to hold, to lift and to comfort.
It is easy as parents to fear the world our children have been born into. But what if, instead, we prepared our children to be warriors for His kingdom? What if we whispered over and over into their sweet little hearts, that though we love them so much, we cannot keep them from evil because God has chosen them to fight a valiant battle, to be a hero of light and goodness in their time and that some day, Jesus Himself will say, "Well done thou good and faithful servant!" --because they fought the good fight and were waiting, like Paul, for the crown that is stored up for him and all who believe and wait for his coming.
Little ones must be protected from media and events that would cause them to fear, so that they can build such strong foundations on goodness, they will be firm and established in love, in goodness and in the ability to hope. In time, the right time as God shows us, we can little by little be the ones who interpret this world to them from God's eyes--but God will help us to know when they are ready.
Yet, little by little, we must strengthen their muscles of faith by giving them the opportunity to be sources of hope and comfort and love to those in need. We are their trainers, those coaches, who are to prepare them to stand strong in their world when God calls them away for His great work.
Satan will not have the last word. Though the battle rages, we shall prevail because we are His and He is the king and Lord over all.
He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. Rev. 21: 7
It is my prayer all of us will hear the very voice of the Holy Spirit calling to have hope, because He is the ultimate redeemer and we know that we will reign with Him through all eternity, after we have been faithful here, to fight the good fight, as Paul did. May we also run the race with godly endurance, keep our faith, and wait for the crown of righteousness that will surely be ours. And may our children who follow behind us find us faithful to leave them a story of hope, a pathway of courage and an end that rejoices in the reality of His presence.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. II Tim 4: 7-8