Sifting around for hope

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.  Romans 5:3-5

There is a world-famous daily facial moisturizer cream called “Hope in a Jar” by Philosophy. It’s too pricey for my pocket, but I am curious about a product that claims, “Where there is hope there can be faith, where there is faith miracles can occur.” Sounds nice. Wonder what it smells like? Wonder what it would feel like on my skin? Don’t worry. I’m curious, but not that curious. Maybe it would be a total disappointment and a waste of money.

Hope cream is vastly, unspeakably different from sifting around in layers of debris; searching for signs of life, signs of hope, and at the very least coming up with a child. Your child. With no sign of life. Just that morning he gulped down his breakfast, grabbed his book bag and headed out the door as you blew him a kiss and told him to have a great day at school. He skipped down the sidewalk as his school bus braked to a stop. The day was off and running on normal cycle. Why would we expect anything different?

F5 tornado damage in Barneveld, Wisconsin (Cou...

F5 tornado damage in Barneveld, Wisconsin (Courtesy of NWS Milwaukee) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But today there is no street signs, no homes, no schools. The land has been both swept and convulsed by a giant, writhing monster which roared through town, trashing everything in it’s wake and leaving unimaginable pain behind. Today is a new normal. An ugly, horrific new normal. This town claims it will rebuild into a new town. Street signs will return. Homes and schools and other buildings will take shape, but mourning will not soon end.

How do these people survive? I’ve heard them talk of their personal faith and looking ahead to rebuild their lives brick by brick, mortared together with hope. Real hope can’t be purchased. It is something that sprouts in the heart; a solid like faith. It’s believing that God will supply every need. And God has been sending volunteers working around the clock to help their brothers and sisters do what they cannot do for themselves. Bless them.

Devastation is cruel. We have no doubt. We call it “mother nature”, but it is simply nature turned in on itself in a fury. It’s the elements God has created as the firmament (Genesis 1:8) which are being disgraced by the enemy bully for his own cruel, heartless purpose. But we will continue to hope through our trials growing in strength toward salvation. We will not be disappointed. Hope will hold us until we meet the God of Love one day soon.

I could think of no better way to end this piece than to share two verses from John Newton’s Amazing Grace. Hum along as you read.

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

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