Monday, May 23, 2011

Hold Fast to Hope

After a few dry months, where words were as elusive as water in the wilderness, I finally managed some writing today.  I've been trying to write the prequel to Second Chance, starting the story when the Summers siblings first discover their parents' deaths.  It journals Jaden's path as he takes on the mantle of head of the family.  While dealing with the loss of their parents, Avalin and Quinn also question their faith.  I've been stuck 30 pages into the story for months, until today.

I always back up and reread what I have previously written to help refresh my memory and put myself back into the story.  I had completely forgotten the last scene I penned, and fully believe it was not a coincidence that today I had the urge to revisit this story.

In the latest scene our characters are at church.  In the sermon, the preacher uses a well quoted verse from Jeremiah;  "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.  Plans to give you hope and a future."  While one character in the story takes joy in this scripture, the Summers siblings do not.  In fact they react with anger, not understanding how they can have hope while facing their personal tragedy.

As I read that, my heart was heavy.  Over the past month hundreds in our state (Alabama) have suffered loss through violent storms.  Flooding has devastated parts of Tennessee and Arizona.  Then Joplin, Missouri was struck just yesterday.

I can't imagine losing a loved one in such a violent way.  And while my story is purely fictional, the emotions inherent with loss are real.  I sat at my computer struggling to answer the question my characters asked.  If God is a loving God, why is he allowing so much destruction?  How can we have hope and a future?  And as I tried to reconcile the Summers's struggles, this verse continued to play in my mind:  "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path."  Psalm 119:105.

How aptly it applies, both to the fictional plot in my story, and more importantly to the struggles in our daily lives.

Right now we may only be able to see the light at our feet, and not the whole path in front of us.  I don't know why God has allowed the weather to cause such wide spread destruction.  But I do know God is good because his WORD tells me.  His word—that promise of his goodness—illuminates the air around me.  Though I know not the fullness of his purpose, and cannot see the path in front of me right now, I also know he is faithful.  If he says his plans are to give us hope and a future, then we can take him at his word.  And when the time is right, he will light our path and allow us to see that future more clearly.

My prayers continue to go out to those who have lost loved ones.  I don't mean to trivialize your pain. My own struggles with loss did not come swiftly through physical disaster, but slowly due to age and sickness.  So while my experiences may not match yours, the pain of loss still tears at our hearts with the same sorrow and at times seems unbearable.

I hope that you will find comfort in knowing the God of the universe knows your name, and while he has allowed these events to occur, he still loves you.  His WORD is full of comfort, and he can give you strength when yours fails.

So hold to hope.  Hope that God is still in control.  Hope that his mercies are new every morning. Hope that each day you continue here is an opportunity to share Christ's love with others.  Hope that in heaven there is no more pain.  Hope that the day will come when you will be reunited.  Hope.

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