I think it is hope that lies at our hearts and hope that finally brings us all here. Hope that in spite of all the devastating evidence to the contrary, the ground we stand on is holy ground because Christ walked here and walks here still. Hope that we are known, each one of us, by name, and that out of the burning moments of our lives he will call us by our names to the lives he would have us live and the selves he would have us become. Hope that into the secret grief and pain and bewilderment of each of us and of our world he will come at last to heal and to save. – Frederick Buechner
He will come, yes, and He has come. and that is why that ground on which we stand is holy. Why the people to whom we speak and with whom we interact every day are sacred. For all are made in His image, in the image of the one who did not give up on a fallen creation. In the image of the one who sacrificed the purest and sweetest and most wondrous thing — Himself — to redeem all things to Himself once more. To bring new life and joy by His love and promise to make all things new.
We are called on by hope. Not a nebulous, vague, and random hope. Not a hope that is mere wishful thinking. But hope that fires the imagination and fires the purpose. Hope that rests in the truth of a perfect Love that descended into the dark forests of this world to seek and save. To bring us Home again.
Thank you, God, for peace and beauty, for mornings that glimmer with the promise of something otherworldly. Something like peace. Thank You for mornings so bright they are almost too harsh to look upon for fear of hurting the eyes. Such mornings promise a day dawning brighter than anything that has been seen or known. A day that all will look upon and not have to squint or cower, but instead finally rejoice.
Thank You for the promise of Your return, which whispers on the edge of every lovely thing in nature, and every thing that is mixed with a little bit of unloveliness, a little bit of sorrow or pain. Like a rose bush with thorns.
Or even the birth of a child. So beautiful. So joyful. And so sad. More than the pain of birth, it stems from the knowledge that the child coming into life so fresh and new will be beset by pain and surrounded by so much that seeks to take away his true joy, and block his search of truth.
Bring children the joy of the silence and peace of a morning like this, the knowledge that You are with them, and they have nothing to fear. For life and beauty waits at the edges of every moment, almost too bright to look upon, yet bidding us to glance again. And to believe.
For their sakes, fill our hearts with that same mixture of joy and truth even in the midst of pain or vanity. So that we can share it with them with a whisper or a song, a word or a shout, a clasped hand as we gaze together upon a morning of blended beauty. Help us to keep our eyes on the beauty, on the light.
Why do we tend to fear
Things we do not understand
Like love and God
And sometimes life itself
So big they are
So often out of hand
Throwing them aside is easier
Than taking a chance
Beyond all knowing, I think
The questions, the fears
Even the choice, sometimes, to disbelieve
It’s hard, God knows
Only He knows just how hard
Life, and love, can be
Our hearts full of joy and pain
And loss and questions why
I think, almost beyond belief
He smiles, and loves
In spite of it all
Today I’m thankful for little disappointments. Because they are not bigger; they aren’t the end of the world. Because it’s not really all that bad.
I had been revising my novel, working to revise the fourth draft, in order to complete it in time to enter a writing contest before the deadline. It was the primary reason that I didn’t hit the 50K nanowrimo goal. And I did it! Five hours before the contest closed, I submitted my novel.
I heard back today that they had to cancel the contest as they did not receive enough submissions. I was, ever-more-than-slightly, disappointed.
I told my husband about my disappointment. Right away he told me that at least it was ready for the next step, getting a few more critiques before working on the fifth (and hopefully final) draft before taking a step toward publication.
I told my daughter and she, at nine years old, immediately said something about God having a plan in it.
I told my sister and she said it wasn’t time wasted.
They are right.
It wasn’t time wasted. It wasn’t even money wasted. God does have a plan. And it is more reader-ready than it was a month ago.
And that’s why I’m thankful for little disappointments. Because, in reality, they probably shouldn’t be seen as disappointments at all … but stepping stones.