Tag Archives: hope

When Faith Shall be Sight

Bible by candlelightWhen I was four or five years old, I was reading through “The Picture Bible” (still one of my favorite renditions of Bible stories) and decided that my favorite Bible story was the one in Second Kings Chapter four, where Elisha saves a widow’s sons from being sold into slavery. The woman has absolutely nothing that she can use to pay her debts. She goes to the prophet Elisha, who asks her what she has. “Nothing but a little oil,” she answers. He tells her to borrow jugs and bowls from her neighbors and start pouring the oil — which lasts until the very last jug has been filled. It’s enough to pay off the debt and live off the remainder.

It’s an awesome story and still one of my favorites.

But Second Kings Chapter four has another story, which has not one but two miracles. It has become one of my favorites as well. It is a tale of amazing faith. I call it the “It is Well” story.

Elisha the prophet often passed through a place called Shunem. A woman of the town invited him for a meal and suggested to her husband they set aside a room in the house with a bed and a table and other furnishings so that the prophet would have a place to stay whenever he passed through.

In appreciation, the prophet asked her what she wanted. “I’m good,” she answered. I could picture myself saying something like that. But in reality, she had a dream … a dream she had pretty much let go of by that time. She wanted a baby.

Elisha found out from someone else that she was childless and next time he saw her, he promised her that this time next year, she would be holding her son.

And so she was. Her dream had come true.

But one day, while working long and hard in the fields, the boy’s head started to hurt. He went home and died while resting on his mother’s lap.

Her son. Her dream come true. Dead.

Without a word to anyone, she asked her servant to take her to Elisha. He saw her coming afar off and sent his servant to ask if everything was okay. Her answer?

It is well.

Her only child had just died. I could think of nothing worse happening in my life than losing a child. But she answered, “It is well.”

Perhaps, like Abraham with Isaac, she knew exactly where her son came from: God, who holds the power of life and death within His hands. She knew He had the power to bring Him back, if it was His will. And so she answered, “It is well.”

And it was.

The boy rose from the dead. The mother’s dream woke up and breathed and she embraced him.

“It is well.”

On Saturday I will share the story of the man who wrote the hymn “It is Well with my Soul.” In the midst of deepest sorrow, he also spoke those words of faith in God.

Not everyone will have their dreams returned to them. And few will understand why, in this world, such things happen. But one day, they will be rewarded for simply trusting that it is well. One day …

“When our faith shall be sight

The clouds be rolled back like a scroll

The trump shall resound

And the Lord shall descend

Even so … it is well with my soul.”

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Inconsolable Longing

looking up[Ken Gire, writing on Heaven, from Reflections on your Life]

Whatever else heaven is, it is more than our experience of life here on earth, not less. It is the fullness of life, not its reduction. It is the waking, as C.S. Lewis put it, not the dream.

From the glimpses given us… we know that whatever else heaven is, it is full of joy. The picture He left us with is one of merriment, of music, dancing, and feasting (vv. 22-25). “Enter into the joy of your master,” are the words He used in a parable to describe the rewards of heaven (Matthew 25:21, 23).

Now and then we get firefly glimpses of that joy… Fleeting moments that pass all understanding. Here one second, someplace else the next. With childlike excitement we follow them, hoping to catch one of them long enough to take in the wonder of it all.

C.S. Lewis describes the feeling as an “inconsolable longing.” In those moments of longing our joy speaks to us. It speaks to us the way the lick of the spoons speaks of birthday cake, the way the smell of roasting turkey speaks of the Thanksgiving meal, the way the scent of pine speaks of Christmas.

And what it speaks of, is heaven.

All Will be Right At Last

faith[By Frederick Buechner, from The Clown in the Belfry]

NOT AT EVERY moment of our lives, Heaven knows, but at certain rare moments of greenness and stillness, we are shepherded by the knowledge that though all is far from right with any world you and I know anything about, all is right deep down.

All will be right at last.

I suspect that is at least part of what “He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness” is all about. It means righteousness not just in the sense of doing right but in the sense of being right—being right with God, trusting the deep-down Tightness of the life God has created for us and in us, and riding that trust the way a red-tailed hawk rides the currents of the air in this valley where we live.

I suspect that the paths of righteousness he leads us in are more than anything else the paths of trust like that and the kind of life that grows out of that trust.

Change Your Life

hopeI pass you on the street. You sit in front of me in class. Behind me. Beside me. Across the way.

I listen to you teach. I watch you smile and laugh and I notice the words you choose.

I see your pictures on Facebook and read your posts. Sad. Happy. Angry. Questioning. Alone. Hopeless.

And I wonder.

Do you have the same hope as I? When I discover that you don’t, through the things you say that reveal your heart, my heart hurts. Because it isn’t just hope that I have.

It’s knowing.

That there is a purpose for your life. That you have a soul, a spirit, within you which will never fade.  That you are known … Every thought and heartache and question and decision. And that you are loved. So completely.

As you meet my eyes for an instant, I think that I, if only for a moment, understand. I see. And I want you to see what I see…. to know what I know.

Of a Love that reaches into the deepest part of you, and makes it new. Of a Love that recreates you. Gives you purpose. Meaning. Truth. Of a Love that never leaves you.

Can I speak to you of it? Just this once?

If you’ve tried a thousand things … Or have been too afraid to try even one … I promise you this is different.

It will change your life. Forever.

The Beautiful

The Beautiful

At the end of days

 

The Beautiful

Today

In my heart

 

The Beautiful

Light and life and love

Friends and family and flight

Rain and reminiscing and rainbows

 

The Beautiful

Butterflies in spring

Lightning on summer nights

Earth-tone leaves dancing in autumn

Sparkling white on forest green in winter

 

The Beautiful

Purpose and paths and promises

Rivers of life and roads of gold

Hope and Heaven

Into the Beautiful

I’ve been working with a man from the UK over the past few months, assisting him in the area of ghostwriting and editing. I finished a project for him this past week and sent a report. In response I got a note from him that his brother just died unexpectedly.

What do you say in response to something like that? All I could tell him was that I would be praying for him. I am, and I will. Me and the kids stopped right there to pray for him and his family and friends.

It’s been 14 years to the day since my best friend died, and still sometimes I wonder what life would be like if she had stayed. Would she have married? Would we be comparing notes about motherhood or writing? Your life is never exactly the same when you lose someone close. Those things that could have been never will be, and it hurts. I pray that my client in the UK finds peace and comfort, and that his brother is in a better place … a place of light and love and beauty.

The song I’m sharing today has recently become one of my favorites. It makes me think of Heaven … the beautiful. It’s one of those songs where I can close my eyes and just listen to it over and over again. Today, the song is my prayer for my friend, for his brother. That the chaos be made a chorus. That His love and mercy covers all.

Take me into the Beautiful.