"He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken." Psalm 62:2
The recent and shocking event of the condominium collapse in Florida is pressing hard on me. It looks like footage of a building in war-torn Syria, not million-dollar oceanfront property in the Sunshine State. These freak, unexpected circumstances bring us all to our knees, either in prayer or fear or both. They are reminders that life is ever-fragile, already cracked glass and ready to crash to the floor at any moment. This is sobering; in the most profound way.
At last count there are five confirmed dead and another 156 beating hearts still missing and unaccounted for and the bad news is overtaking the good with hope's flicker dulling each day. I read in various, numerous news accounts that people are "Clinging to hope". After all, it is the only thing left in times like this.
It occurred to me that on the very night of this horrific event, I was long-staring at the gorgeous, strawberry supermoon talking to God and saying: "Thank You Lord, for creating the moon, our constant reminder of Your presence. our glowing, bright, constant and eternal talisman of Hope." My friend in Nepal, whose name just so happens to be Hope, calls the moon the light shining down on us from God's house. I love this imagery - of Dad always keeping the lights on for us - His beloved children; beckoning us to come home.
Waking up to see what happened overnight to those poor souls made my heart shatter and then my mind quiet in reverence of how precarious this life really is. I wondered how many of them saw that very same amazing moon and reveled in the beauty and sheer glory of it as I did just hours before.
Then, not able to hold back I was driven like a ravenously thirsty hiker in the heat of the day searching for a drink of water, even a drop. Anything to help relieve the pain. I panted and prayed for comfort, for miracles, for hope, any glint or glimmer that would offer air to what felt like a suffocation to my spirit's parched lungs.
We humans need hope to survive down here; like oxygen, water, and love - it is a crucial element to hold us up and allow us to go on for another day.
After praying, I was reminded of a deep-felt conversation a few months ago that I had with my younger brother who was an atheist at the time. I asked him where his Hope came from: "Not, the temporal, fleeting kind that sways and crumbles, but your last breath, final-moments-here-on-earth type of hope?"
With this unusual and surprising question, he stopped talking and I could see something change in his demeanor, even his slumped posture slightly rose up, respectful in its' presence. Like someone important just entered the room.
He did not have an answer for me then, and how could he? He still had to choose to enter into the idea and say "yes" to the passage. I then lovingly encouraged him to give faith another chance. He soon afterward started going back to church to seek out the One who offers life and hope he never thought possible. With that single question as the first stepping stone, he has begun his own grace-laced journey to find and hold Hope in his heart, no matter what life brings or decides to remove in a blink of time, even peaking in cruelty, overnight as we sleep.
Friends, life here is short, we've heard it a million times, but do we really understand it until we are faced with it's absolute truth staring us down in times like this?
We are not promised that the sides and the roof won't crash in, but we are promised the eternal embrace and ever-presence of the One who shepherds and holds us in and "through the valley of the shadow of death" (Psalm 23:4). In this world where the foundations give way and the walls don't hold, I am deeply grateful for the my Stronghold who always will remain solid and true.
Our bright, Light of the world, eternal hope has a name - Jesus Christ. (John 8:12)
Question: Where does your last-breath hope come from? Pray for God to show you His Light-presence today. And be encouraged, in Him, there is only eternal life and everlasting Hope!