Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
Saturday evening after work, I was drained. I was out of gas. I was trying to get home and traffic was crazy as usual. I left the freeway due to a detour and I was following the detour signs though I didn’t have to, I knew where I was. Sometimes it’s nice when you are forced off four lanes. The tension of the day was still knotted into my shoulders yet as I looked to my left I was hit with a jaw dropping sunset. Then I had one of those really deep theological sounding prayers that goes like this:
Oh God, Oh God, Oh God, thank you.
And on the heels of that prayer the quiet thought came to rest deep in my soul, “How can I feel hopeless when I know the originator of that astounding light?”
Yet, we can. The world has a way of sapping our strength.
Yet in those times when the flame of our faith flickers low, we have the assurance of knowing the source behind that flame will never die. Our strength resides in the waiting and the trusting that He’s still there, and that the foundation we stand upon is firm. Our faith carries us even when we are not feeling particularly hopeful because we know our sense of hopelessness is temporary. And in the waiting, we grow stronger.
I took the exit that led me to Wal-Mart because I needed to get some things before I went home, and it was madness. I had forgotten that it was “Lost Dutchman Days” in Apache Junction this weekend. That means 20,000 extra people in our humble town. I think every single one of them was at Wal-Mart, along with me.
I steered through the crowds, weaving in and out like a person possessed. I ran while God whispered. He pointed out the daffodils poking their sunny heads out of the ugly black buckets. He knows they always make me smile. And He elbowed me to see the little stuffed cat that looked just like the one that my niece carried with her from the time she was very small…….it made me think of a sweet time in her life and mine.
The next morning was Sunday, and I still felt hung-over from the work-week. I gave myself a time-out. I tried to go out and pray and my prayers hit a Teflon ceiling. I sat in the silence aware of nothing but my own gloomy disposition. My candle flickered for nothing, it seemed.
Blowing on the embers, I dug out an old Praise CD from 1989, the ones you hardly hear anymore in church. I lit candles, I read and whiled away the day in my sweats. I finished a book and started another. It felt good. But I still didn’t feel hopeful. My Dad called, and told me about a wonderful testimony in church he heard. Three sisters baptized and the oldest girl, 18, had everyone in tears with her words.
He almost didn’t go. In fact, he took my Prayer Closet book out to his swing and out fell the two pages that Elaine found that sad day in the parking lot of the rest home. Those words, still giving him the hope that they gave her when she first found them. Read about it here.
And the angel said unto them, Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people: for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10,11
This is what gives us hope even when the world tries its best to snatch it away. This morning, I awoke to hope again. It never really went anywhere. It was just waiting for me to receive it again. Sometimes you just have to wait in the expectation of hope, even when you don’t feel very hopeful.