Friday, June 20, 2014

Eternal Hope

This post is dedicated to my dear friend, Judy.  In memory of her daughter.  Thank you for sharing your pain with me.
How do you find hope in your life in the midst of pain and suffering?  What a question!

This past weekend I was facilitating a women’s retreat for Southwood United Church.  The retreat centre is located on an escarpment in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains overlooking the Ghost River.  This was the scene of a major flood that swept across Southern Alberta in 2013.

Trees that previously stretched their limbs to the sunlit sky now lie on the ground, flattened by the rush of water that buried them one year ago.

On Saturday afternoon I went for a walk by the river with a dear friend who recently lost her daughter.  Her pain is fresh and raw, and my heart broke for her as we grieved together by the river.

 While we were there we noticed an interesting characteristic of the trees in the devastated landscape.  Each tree appeared to be lying on the ground.  On closer examination we realized that although they were flattened out, each tree had brilliant green spring growth on it. 

 Intrigued, we looked closer and saw that the trees, weren’t actually uprooted. Their trunks lay parallel to the ground, forced down by the weight of the flood waters, but their roots remained firmly planted in the ground.

 Despite adverse growing conditions, their roots extended deep into the soil and they continued to thrive and grow. 

My friend, in the midst of her pain, looked at this and commented on the similarity to a faith journey.

 Life’s events knock us down and leave us lying on the ground, but our faith roots us firmly in Jesus Christ so we are able to drink deeply from His well of life-giving, life-sustaining water and continue to grow through difficult times.

This beautiful woman is an inspiring example of what a strong faith looks like.  She grieves, and yet she finds and accepts the gifts that God continues to bring into her life.

I’m reminded of this scripture…

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.  Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.  But anyone who hears my teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.  When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”  Matthew 7:24-27 (NLT)
So we suffer and we grieve, but Jesus is our solid foundation.

Yesterday I received this picture from my friend.  A reminder of our time together.  She titled the picture “Eternal Hope”.  Now I share that hope with you and pray for all who grieve.  May you find the hope of Jesus Christ in the midst of your pain. 


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