Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Beyond The Storms, A Spark of Hope



Reeling in shock. That’s how I would describe our small community after a series of senseless murders and fatal accidents claimed the lives of several of our young men. In a community as connected as ours, the tragedies always come too close to home. We are all affected. This spate of unfortunate events was so sudden, so tragic that some started to suspect the work of unnatural forces. In a community familiar with hurricanes, this one threw us off of our feet as the dark storm clouds of pain and fear settled on our small islands.

These tragedies came on the heel of two major losses in my family... one somewhat expected and one found only in your nightmares.  Losing both your father and your youngest brother within a short time span rocks you to the core, the pain is hot and real and lasting.

On the world stage things were no better. We need only look to our close neighbor to see the waves of uneasiness. Rising tensions, riots, and protests following an unpredicted election result scream ‘uncertain times’.  Wars and rumours of wars, refugees, terrorist attacks, corruption and greed dominate the global media coverage. Without a doubt these are grim times.

To say that hope was struggling to breathe would be an understatement.

I had read about God’s promise of joy and his admonition to ‘count it all joy’, but in reality joy seemed missing in action, drowning under the turbulent seas of life.

I wondered about my children. I wondered what they felt deep down about all these things. 

I understood in a fresh way the delusional need of our youth to sedate themselves with the ever-flowing ebb of entertainment. Living for what makes one happy does seem to offer a respite from all that ails us, but I wondered about the questions that float through their minds in their infrequent quiet, unplugged moments.

I wondered if a steady unwavering joy and a hope that steers us on were within their grasp.

And so I grabbed them by their hands, walked to the edge of our crazy circumstances and dove right into the book of Revelation.

Revelation?  Really?

Really!

I recall my childhood memories of Revelation were not too pretty... fire and brimstone, moon turning to blood, stars falling from the skies. What was I thinking? What twisted love is this? Did I plan for them to be scared to death or coerced by fear?

No; I was simply diving in, in search of hope... a hope, grounded in love and leading to joy... a hope that changes the lens through which we view the events of our time.  A hope that gives meaning to today and assurance for tomorrow. 

These times were too perilous to leave them drifting on their own in a rickety boat of their own making. 

They need to know the Captain.


Together we would sail the seas and together we would search.

It started out with smooth sailing. The introduction brims with hope; the letters to the churches are relevant, convicting and encouraging. Yep, those first few chapters of Revelation are bursting with the promise of reward.

But we soon sailed into choppy waters. One morning as I was pre-reading the upcoming chapters, I felt the old fears of my childhood memories bobbing to the surface. The images were downright creepy; for me even. I could only imagine my children’s reactions.

In a moment of doubt, I thought... maybe this was not such a good idea after all. Maybe we’ll just read something different... something more hope inspiring.

But I kept reading on. This was after all the revelation of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ  - revealing Himself to us – I needed to see more... my children needed to see more... more of Him. Besides, a blessing was promised to everyone who reads it. 
God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near. Revelation 1:3
So I pushed past the images of the apocalypse to see Jesus. 

And I decided to start with the end.

Sometimes, I think if we can know how the story ends, the scary twists and turns of the plot won’t seem so intimidating after all. A spoiler for sure, but hey, in this life I think we all could benefit from a spoiler like this one.

So I leaned in close to my Captain, braced myself against His strength and prayerfully steered my children’s gaze straight to the end of the story. Right then and there, I skipped right over the hairy parts that seem ghoulish in detail and read the final few chapters of Revelation for them. 


Aaahhhhh! Somehow just reading those passages strengthens my sea legs. I don’t feel so tossed about any more when I meditate on His rock-solid promises. I know life is rough and will continue to be rough. I shudder when I think of all the possibilities. But I also know that I have a Captain that promises to never leave me nor forsake me and that assures me of safe passage. 
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deut. 31:6
As I cling to this mast of hope, I fix my gaze at the rising joy that leads me deeper into Him.  

And He steels me for the onward journey.

As for my children, thankfully, I don’t need to rely on my imperfect navigation skills and my flawed understanding of the course. God has promised a guide for our journey – His Holy Spirit – and He will lead us into all truth. On Him we can depend.

Yes, the journey is not over. Together, my children and I, would continue our search through the book of Revelation and though the tempest rages, we would drop anchor at all the choppy parts in full hope of uncovering the Treasure that lies beneath. I think we are in for quite an adventure!

May God bless you as you travel on,

Carlie

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What about you?
Where do you find hope?
What are your thoughts about the book of Revelation?
Love? Hate? Avoidance? Confusion?

*************

I pray you are encouraged 
as you listen to this hope inspiring song by J. Brian Craig.

8 comments:

  1. I just love your writing, it's deep and relevant, it sings, and sweeps us into the darkness, back into the light through scripture and helps reminds of God behind our storm clouds. I'm so sorry to hear of your losses, and know the challenges of life in the midst of this broken world. I read Revelations not to long ago amazed at it's beauty. I, too always shunned it thinking it's too grim and bizarre, but I saw so much light in in last time. What a great post. Thank you for visiting my blog today since I had a chance to read your brilliant writing.

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    1. Kathy, thank you so much for your sweet encouragement. You brought a big smile to my face. For sure there is 'so much light' in Revelation and I want my kids to see the Light and not get distracted by the 'grim and bizarre'. Thanks again for your truly thoughtful comment. It was a pleasure visiting you at your blog today.

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  2. This is such an encouraging post, Carlie! The way may be stormy, but our Captain will never let us down. He is always in control even when circumstances would have us believe otherwise.

    I'm your neighbor at the #RaRaLinkup. Blessings to you!

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    1. Thank you, Gayl. Yes, He is always with us; I'm learning that truth bit by bit. So nice to meet you today. Thanks for visiting and for your thoughtful comment.

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  3. I'm so grateful that we already know how this story will end. In giving us a preview God provided a sure anchor for our souls and that is such sweet hope and encouragement. By the way, you're so brave to venture into Revelation with kids in tow. You're my hero. Lol

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    1. Amen, my sister! Brave, I don't know, but I'm trusting the Captain. :)Thanks for the encouragement! Hugs and kisses!

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  4. I can't think of a better way to find hope than to fix your eyes on Christ, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame and then sat down at the right hand of the Father in heaven - which is where he is! Like him (and through him) we, too, can endure for the joy set before us - the joy so beautifully described at the end of Revelation! Thank you so much for sharing this post with us at Encouraging Word Wednesday this week!

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    1. Thank you, Charlie, for so beautifully expressing the hope we have. It was a pleasure linking up at Encouraging Word Wednesday! Blessings to you!

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