Where Does My Hope Come From?

I find myself wanting to hold my family close and speak the words “I love you” to them.

I’m listening to music from my childhood, calling my grandparents and parents to check on them and reaching out to my friends daily.

Why does it take a crisis to prompt me to do the things I should have been doing long ago?

Tears come easy these days. I’ve never been great at quickly adapting to abrupt change and find I need to let the grief flow at the strangest of times.

On Sunday morning, we showed the kids a few scenes from the Jesus film. I found my heart longing for the day when heaven touches earth in such a profound way once again – when the King of Kings makes everything right and sin and death are vanquished forever. This momentous, frightening time in history will pass. Fear will be gone. Sorrow and pain will be no more. Isolation will end. The body of Christ will be together, praising Him evermore! The breath caught in my throat and my heart swelled with hope as hot tears of relief filled my eyes. I tried to blink them away but a few escaped and slid down my cheeks.

My 2 year old noticed. “Do you have tears?” he asked, sticking his little cherub cheeks right in front of mine so I could hide no longer.

“Yes,” I said. He is just so cute.

“Are you sad?” he pressed, eyes wide with curiosity as he touched the tears on my face with his soft little fingers.

“I’m a little sad and a little happy,” I explained.

“I’ll take your tears and put them away for you,” he said as he placed both hands on my cheeks. He ran down the hall, opened my bedroom door and “threw” my tears in. Then he came running back to my side.

“I put your tears away in your room,” he said.

“Thank you,” I laughed through more tears.

Jesus, one day You will put away our tears. You will wipe our sad red eyes and hold us close. There will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain because the old order of things will have passed away, and You will make everything new! (Revelation 21:4-5)

As we look forward to that day, we are in awe of how we experience Your presence even here in the middle of the darkness. We see Your light shining unapologetically in the storm. We are filled with Your Spirit, bringing a bit of heaven to a very weary earth. We cry out to You and wait with baited breath for Your kingdom to come in all its fullness, Lord! We walk forward in confidence that You have not forgotten us, and that in fact, You have equipped us to serve You at this very moment in history. We praise You for strengthening us even now!

We fix our eyes on You, Jesus.

Have you experienced joy this week? Have you seen kindness in action? Have you felt connected to someone? Have you found comfort in God’s Word? Have you seen someone pouring out their life for the sake of another? Praise the Lord — He never stops working!

Meditate on Psalm 46 and find your hope in Christ today.

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.

God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.

Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the Lord has done,
    the desolations he has brought on the earth.

He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields with fire.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

-Psalm 46 (NIV)

Lighthouse Rachel Omnes

Image: Rachel Omnes

Crayons

I like a fresh box of crayons that still have the pointy tips. It drives me nuts when the kids peel the wrapper off and you can’t see what colour the crayon is until you scratch it across some scrap paper. Is it blue? Is it purple? I can’t tell! And when the new crayons get spilled out onto the table and jammed back in the box in a haphazard way, my lip curls and my nose wrinkles. I bite my tongue because I know they’re just crayons after all. But still – I’d rather have a brand new box.

I suppose you could say I like things a certain way. In fact, I struggle with seeing the value in some things if they aren’t as I would like them to be.

The other day one of the kids found a brand new box of crayons and carefully opened it up to reveal all the beautiful colours inside. She carefully made her selection and began to create something all her own on a clean sheet of white paper.

For a few days, the crayon box stayed intact. Each one was returned to its “spot” and everything was wonderful. The kids spent hours drawing pictures and writing lists and showing each other what they made. As their enthusiasm grew, their care diminished and it wasn’t long before things in the box started to look a bit disorganized and overfull. A few crayons stuck out of the top like soldiers and the little boxes that kept the crayons from falling over were bulging with a mix of greens and purples, reds and blues, oranges, pinks and earthen tones.

A few crayons rolled onto the floor and got stepped on. One or two snapped in the hands of eager artists. A few more were worn down, “sharpened” and then worn down again from use. Because it had become more difficult to find the exact color they were looking for, someone dumped the entire box on the table and left it there, revealing the broken ones that been shoved down into the bottom of the box.

As I walked past the crayon mess, something struck me:  the broken crayons were right in there with the others, ready to make something beautiful.

Broken crayons still colour.

Things don’t have to be perfect to be wonderful.

I’m finding this to be a recurrent lesson in my life. Rarely do things turn out perfectly, but aren’t they still so beautiful? In a different way, yes. But still incredible to behold.

Perhaps your life looks different that you hoped. Maybe your original plans have shifted thanks to circumstances or choices, whether yours or someone else’s. There’s so much grief and disappointment to be processed as we live in the middle of imperfection, but it only makes me hunger for Jesus more. He is so beautiful! He is so perfect. He never fails and He always tenderly lifts us out of the mire. Because of Him, there is always something incredible happening that we could never have expected or predicted.

I am constantly amazed at how He redeems the broken things. He gives me beauty for ashes, joy takes the place of mourning, praise instead of despair. I can see it happening in my own life, and the lives of those around me. It’s breathtaking.

The broken things are beautiful reminders that God will not waste a single thing in my life. I am in hands of the One who created the universe, and He is using these broken things, along with the things that are whole, to reveal His incomparable beauty. He is so gentle, so kind, so patient and loving.

When He begins a good work in us, He is faithful to finish that work in us our whole lives long, every part redeemed for His glory.

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6 NIV)

Lord, help me not to discard the broken, viewing it as useless and without purpose. Help me to rest in Your arms, knowing that even the broken things show me more of who You are. You are the Redeemer and the Restorer of my soul. Thank You Jesus!

broken crayons

Crayons on the table