There was thunder.
And there was lightning.
And Grace called, all whispers.
“Grandma, I was just in bed saying my prayers. And I asked God to bring Great-Grandma back. And I asked Him to give me a sign that she was coming. And right then there was this big flash. And . . . she’s coming back!”
“No, Grace. That really was just a coincidence. Great-Grandma’s not coming back. She’s in heaven, and she’s happy, and she doesn’t hurt any more. But we will get to see her again one day.”
“No, Grandma. He gave me a sign. She’s coming back.”
How to argue with that?
Will her faith falter because of a flash?
Will her hope hover on the edge of hallelujah and turn away?
Or maybe this morning she’s forgotten and moved on.
But it can happen.
Dashed hopes and dreams wound and wither our faith.
We can choose to walk on and trust God to work all things together for good.
Or we can throw our mat down and camp out on the edge of discouragement, on the edge of I-Feel-Sorry-for-Myself Land, and dwell in depression and despair.
We can hang around the edge of the water waiting for someone else to stir things up, someone else to carry us, someone else to raise our hope.
Does God even see us?
One man plopped down (John 5) by the water in the house of mercy. He hung out hopeless for 38 years. Since before Jesus was born.
And Jesus saw him. Fixed His eyes on him out of all the hundreds and asked him if he wanted to get well.
The man didn’t answer, “Oh, yes, please. Could you help me? Could you wait with me until the water moves and carry me in?”
Instead, he whined to the Living Water about not having anyone to put him in the pool. Fixed his eyes on others.
Did he find some comfort in his paralysis? Did he see himself as a victim?
He didn’t ask for healing. Did he even want it? Really?
But Jesus in His mercy poured it over him anyway. “Get up and walk.”
Don’t lie there any more feeling sorry for yourself. Get your act together. Feel my strength flow through you. Get up and move on with your life.
It wasn’t faith that healed him.
It was mercy and grace.
Disabilities and challenges and limitations.
Thunder times and dark days.
False signs of hope.
No signs of hope.
We can plop and play the victim. Or choose to see problems as privileges.
We can seize the opportunity to see with new eyes.
To choose our focus.
To choose feathered hope.
To rise up and walk.
To dive into hallelujah.
Some more cardinal photos for you. Because to me they are a sign of hope.
Counting the Gifts
Gray days that make me grateful for sun.
Soccer balls and softball gloves.
Stones of all shapes and sizes.
A grand girl blowing dandelion puff for the first time.
The yawning ache in my heart to go to Kenya–and the opportunity to grow from “no”–or “not yet.”
Feathered red hope.
An antique kitchen table fixed with a few mallet wallops.
Fresh-washed white sheets and a white down comforter.
The sweetness of a moist and tender prune.
A cat rubbing up against my legs.