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There seems to be an odd paradox during these days… a quickening of the heart as certain elements re-emerge in our culture and daily life. It’s like Spring; things of beauty that were almost taken for granted are slowly blooming again, and we say, “Oh, I remember that!” Simple pleasures like enjoying a meal with friends in a restaurant, taking children to the playground, or going to the movies; blooming flowers that are so simple and bring such joy. There seems to be a new appreciation for spending time with friends and loved ones, to make new memories with our families and the ones we hold dear.

At the same time, there is a heaviness, a weariness as we watch events in the world around us. There is a growing sadness as we see the results of our collective human frailties. The effects of greed, the desire for dominance, and the callousness of world powers take their toll on our minds and hearts. The flame of hope that once burned so brightly now flickers nervously in the winds of human events.

The older I get the more I realize that the rhythm of human history is a repetitive cycle. There is very little that’s new and unique. As I look back I can find other pandemics, numerous wars, past political and civil unrest, eras of social and racial injustice, countless natural disasters, and a plethora of other events that prove what we are going through now has all happened before. And we have always survived, sometimes just barely it seems.

And so, as the skies grow darker, I’m left to ask myself, “Why?” Why strive for change when we seem bound to repeat the same mistakes again? Why work so hard to build when the sands of time seem so volatile? So I turn to the only one who has any real answers; the only one in whom I can place my hope. I am compelled by the words of Psalm 91:15 -

He will call upon me and I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.

This world and its ways produce trouble. Even as a lover of Christ, I am not immune to life on this planet, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Pain and sorrow will still visit me and those I love. Wild animals still prowl the night looking for a way into the safety of my home. World disasters may loom on the horizon like black clouds against gray sky.

God never said there would be no trouble. Make no mistake… there WILL be trouble. The effects of sin on this old world of ours are abundant and well-documented. But God did say that if we take refuge in Him and make HIM our dwelling place, that He would walk right there with us through every moment of our history. He promised to never leave us or forsake us. He promised to satisfy us and show us our salvation. And He promised that the troubles would never overtake us (see Psalm 91:9-16).

So today, I will fan the flame of hope and build a wind block around the fire. I will lift my face towards Heaven and the words of Hebrews 12:2 will become the heartbeat of my days:

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

This is the paradox of life, the coexistence of hope and hopelessness. We are called into the battle even when earthly triumph seems nearly impossible. We still fan the flame of hope amidst gale force winds. We are called to be strong and courageous and not to be discouraged. And why? Because there is still much left to do for His Kingdom, and we are called to be the light. And the truth of the matter is there are a great many victories yet to be celebrated!

Take a Five Minute Walk

Take a walk outside today and talk with God about any fears and anxieties you have about the future. Ask Him to fan the flame of your faith so that it burns brightly in the midst of the darkness. He is faithful and His promises are sure.

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