Monday, December 16, 2013

There Is Hope

One spring, after a long and icy winter, Patricia E. Deegan, Ph.D., Director of Training National Empowerment Center, in Lawrence, MA, wrote the following:

"It is springtime and hope is everywhere. It is springtime and it feels like all living things are trembling into being, still wet and new and fragile and determined to put down roots and grow.

I think of a sea rose I watched growing out at a beach near my home this past summer. It is a fragile and tender life, that sea flower. I love to see it. At dawn it moves in a slow up sway as it turns toward the morning star. That sea rose is a light seeker. It bends toward the light. It is a light-seeker whose roots reach way down into the darkness of the earth. In fact, it was in darkness that his new life began.

Way back in January and February, when the icy winds lashed across those dunes and the days were short and the light gave no warmth, even then, way down under the ground, this new life was waiting. Nobody could see it, nobody was there to witness it, and yet this promise of a sea flower waited. It waited in that icy darkness for the sands to begin to thaw. It waited for the rains to come and loosen the earth. And then, ever so slowly, it began to stir. Moving one grain of sand at a time, it began to grow.

It did not grow straight toward the light at first. No. First its growth sought a downward course, reaching, stretching, blindly groping through shifting sands to find a solid place. A place to be rooted. A good soil to cling to and to be nurtured by. A home soil that could sustain it even in driving rains and tormenting winds. And then, having rooted itself in this way, the sea rose began its journey toward the light. Poking through the darkness, that sea flower emerged tiny and lovely and insistent and courageous. On frail and trembling limbs, this small thing rose to a new life...

That sea rose teaches us a lot about hope. It teaches us that hope emerges out of darkness. It teaches us that hope can grow in nurturing environments that allow one to become rooted and secure. And I have come here today to celebrate the hope symbolized by that sea rose."

The sea rose is a beautiful picture of those of us with chronic illnesses. The pain, disappointments, suffering, longing to be whole once again are all found in the darkness of illness. At first it seems we have no hope of getting out of this darkness of despair; we don’t see any light at the end of our tunnel. Then either someone shares something encouraging with us, or we hear the still small voice inside of us crying out, ‘there is hope that can grow in this soil of….. illness….’.

Where is that hope found? For me, this hope is found in none other than my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Personally, I have been in those deep dark crevices of suffering, pain, disappointments that a chronic illness, trials, suffering or other life tragedy can take you. I even know how desperate one can become  to even cry out asking God to take away the physical or emotional pain - even at times asking Him to take my life so I could never experience this pain again.

Thankfully, each time I would hear a little whisper from within, “there is hope in this soil of….illness, sorrow, trials, or tragedy.” What a comfort to know just how much God loves me and cares for me.  “… hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is unfailing love. His redemption overflows.” Psalm 130:7 (NLT).

My hope in God’s unfailing love goes deeper than my chronic illness, sorrow, challenges, sufferings, and earthly trials. My hope has been rooted deep into the soil of God’s infinite love. For hope, true everlasting hope grows deep into the soil of God’s Love for each and every one of us. A love that is pure, unfailing, and everlasting. How much does God love us? Enough to give us hope in all of life’s troubles. This hope I am speaking of is found in none other than God’s Son, Jesus Christ. God loved us so much that he gave His only Son, Jesus, so we can have life everlasting. (John 3:16). It is because of this Love, that we have hope in even our darkest moments (2 Samuel 22:29). Like the sea rose, this Love gives us the hope to emerge from our darkness to find Light that will help us grow and find a beautiful, lovely life that only we ourselves can live; and in so doing reach out to others that only we can reach, and give them hope in their darkness, illness, pain, sorrow, and life’s challenges.

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

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