I’ll never forget the sight of it. This church was in ruins, but you could still feel the Spirit of life within its walls. Even with a missing roof and the bare bones of its foundation left, it was beautiful.
My husband and I stood in the center of this place where people once worshipped. There wasn’t much left but a frame, but worship was still in the atmosphere. The cannon fire which brought down its walls couldn’t stifle the hope these men and women held onto when life crumbled around them.
Even though they had no place left to gather and praise the name of the Lord, his name didn’t change. Savior, Counselor, Prince of Peace: He still remained all of these things in the midst of their suffering.
Do you ever wonder whether the first disciples would have followed Jesus if they knew what lay ahead? If they could see the persecution they would face, the torture and the ridicule, do you think they would have said, “No thanks?”
I’d like to think they would have said, “yes,” but I also believe God only gives us small glimpses of what lay ahead because he knows our tendencies to doubt, to try to hide and question. His plans for us are ultimately for good, but we often have to walk through trials to arrive at the place he has for us.
Those periods of trouble can do one of two things: they can cause us to run from God or push into Him. They can make us bitter, believing we know what is best, or they can lead to a deeper faith. I haven’t always made the better decision, and there were times in my life when the hurt and pain caused me to distance myself from the One who loved me the most. There were times when instead of expressing my anger and frustration to God, I avoided Him altogether.
But as much as I tried to run from Him, He was always there. Waiting for me to come back. Waiting for me to lay my burdens down at the feet of the One who knows all things.
Over the years, what he’s taught me is this: The source of our hope will fade like sinking sand if it isn’t Christ alone. Anything which isn’t based on Him and his eternal love for us will turn to ashes one day, and basing our lives on temporal things will only lead to frustration and heartache.
Over the next three weeks, some of my favorite writers will gather around the table with us. We’re going to talk about pain and loss, but we’re also going to talk about the hope which is present through it all. We’re going to talk about how the love of Christ sustains us and keeps us steady during times when we struggle to catch our breath, and how he’s shown up in places we’d never expect.
Will you join us? We’d love to have you join the discussion, so grab a chair and a cup of coffee. We can’t wait to see what God has in store for us.