I once believed that brokenness was for life. I would never become unbroken. I might never be able to move on.
How wrong I was. Just as God took chaos and spoke this beautiful earth into place, he can do the same for us. He speaks over each one of us: “But you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings and you will go out and frolic…” (Malachi 4:2)
Healing comes through relationship. As we honour our God, put him first, love him with all our broken hearts, he does his part. He rises like the sun over our dark and hurting lives. He brings us healing and joy.
Something spooked my father and we fled until he felt safe – a thousand miles. We finally set up tents on an Arizona mountain, beside a road built by prisoners of war. For three weeks we camped in that desolate wilderness.
In the silence, I played my accordion. My melody echoed with the remembered chisel sounds of those prisoners. I too was a captive to someone else’s fear. Yet my fingers played something far more captivating…
“Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free Rolling as a mighty ocean In its fullness over me, underneath me, all around me Is the current of your love Leading onward, leading homeward To your glorious rest above.”
Jesus holds us tight in a love that understands.
Composer: Samuel Trevor Francis (1834-1925). Photo: OB OA on Unsplash.
Yesterday I met a stranger who is fed-up and utterly underwhelmed by his job. He said, “Sometimes I lose the will to live.”
I had no wise answer, no words of encouragement, even though I have been in those same shoes as well. But I made a comment and this person started laughing. And then I remembered, this is how God often comforts me.
For, “we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:4) In my troubles God gives me laughter. A clumsy mistake with a funny antic. A sudden ACHOO in a silent library. Watching a duck skid on ice.
I have waited four long years for the release of my memoir. At first I gave power to the person who threatened it with legal action if I published it traditionally. But two months ago, a new realization dawned on me. God is bigger than any situation. He is stronger. He is good. And, HE is the one in control.
I don’t know why it has taken me this long to understand, but now I have a different perspective: “We wait in hope for the Lord, for he is our help and shield.” (Psalm 33:20) No more do I hope for that person to change their mind, instead I hope in God. HE is the one in charge. HE will do what is right, and HE will do it at the right time.
In January I gave a talk on hope. I struggled in the preparation and went to Derek for help. He asked me one question: “What is the opposite of hope?”
“It’s hopelessness,” I said, and suddenly I identified. I understood. Hopelessness is a deep dejection that nothing will improve, a choking fear that it will always be the same, a desperate feeling of no remedy or cure…
I am still thinking about hope, telling others, and applying it to my life. I trust this ‘Hope Hand’ blesses you as it has blessed me.
In the space of four days, opposite events occurred:
Someone said something with an intent to destroy.
A friend took me to the National Art Gallery in London.
I sat before a painting with my friend – The Raising of Lazarus.* It mirrored my circumstances… Lazarus was dead, and I felt the same. But, four days later Jesus told the mourners to open to tomb. An awful smell poured out. Yet, Jesus called out, “Lazarus, come out!”**
…I sat there. Lazarus was me. Jesus was calling. I lived! Lazarus tore off his shroud. I could tear off mine. I could be free!
You see, death-like words don’t have to hold us down. “Come out!” Jesus calls to each one of us. We can choose to get up and LIVE!
Derek bought me a hat, a green one with a bow in the back. We both like it, but others have not been so positive. “You look eccentric!” “You really look funny!” And the best one.. “Your hat looks like a lily pad!”
I appreciate the honesty. But… there is a wonderful verse in the Bible. It says that God “has made everything beautiful in its time.”* We don’t need to worry about opinions. God created beauty to stand out as different, for that is what beauty is. Each of us is beautiful, regardless of our peculiarities.
I still wear my hat, and when people meet me, they nod and smile. They even stop for a chat. My lily-pad hat might be eccentric, but so is God’s love.