Sometimes, I feel a million miles away from courageous. A million miles away from ‘I understand’ and million miles away from heroic.
Right now, with COVID-19, universal worry and universal quarentine, things can seem pretty bad. It all looks so bleak, not only are plans interrupted but people are hurting and dying. What are we supposed to do with it? Why is there so much pain in the world and where is the light? What is God’s plan in this? The questions are very real, and very askable.
The clouds were gray, the trees were gray, even the ground was gray; covered in fallen sticks and a layer of last Autumn’s leaves. I was gray. I was walking outside, in the gray, Winter washed world, listening to the slight wind batter the leafless branches. Then, I saw it. Through the branches something shone and grabbed my heart. It was blue. I ducked under the branch and entered a small clearing in the brush. I gasped. Spread over the gray and muddy ground was lying a miracle. Blue, purple, blue. It was flowers, a hundred tiny blue flowers. They sprouted their heads up through the fallen sticks and leaves and tranquilly waved on the creek bank. I knelt down.
“What are your names, little flowers?”
“Hope, we are hope.”
It is dark, but somehow there is still a brilliant light! It is painful and evil in the world, and yet there is still love. Somehow, with all the wrong and hurt that goes on, the light shines out the brighter and the love holds on the tighter. And I don’t understand it all, but maybe I don’t have to I understand. Maybe there’s a God who understands everything perfectly for me. A God of greater light and love than our feeble war weary souls can even imagine. And what if He has a plan? What if He has already made a way, sending His Son to take the punishment we deserved and to give us life everlasting? What if He formed a golden highway, glowing it’s brilliant light into the darkness, a golden highway in the shape of a cross.
Well, my friends, that is my hope. That is what I hold onto. That is what I have seen to be true in my life and in the lives of others around me over and over again.
I don’t have all the answers but God does. Trust is a journey. But like the Chinese proverb says: a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. We have assurance as we walk, friends: He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Romans 8: 32 That means that God already gave the greatest gift He could give; He gave His Son, everything else pales in comparison to that. If He gave us the great gift of His Son, won’t He also give us everything we need?
So what do we do in the meantime? We look for the beauty, we cry at the pain, we listen to the wind and the crashing of the waves and the faithful song of the birds. We watch for signs of love and signs of light, we keep God’s promises close. We find courage and companionship in our families and our books and we stand up to defy the whole world of darkness grasping a single dripping paintbrush, an inky pen, a violin bow, a few words of life, the shield of faith and a pressed and preserved single purple flower. We grasp them in callused, ink covered hands and wield them as a sword.