Hope in the Dark

It’s difficult to stay in hope while we’re standing in the darkness.flower in cement

Consider the faith of Mary Magdalene. Scripture tells us “While it was still dark, she went to the tomb” (John 20:1).

While it was still dark, her faith was strong enough to visit the grave of her Lord. She wanted to be with Jesus one more time, to hold his body in her arms and thank him for rescuing her from the demons.

I imagine she had not slept since the horror of standing near his cross and watching him die.

Because of her devotion, God granted her the desire of her heart—to see Jesus again.

But this time, he was gloriously alive.

He also gave her the privilege of telling the fearful brothers that she had seen him.

He spoke to her, called her by name.

While it was still dark.

When we’re in those dark places, it is so difficult to imagine life at the end of the tunnel. We see only our pain, the challenge of each day. We feel only the raw depth of our struggles.

Our faith tends to fester, encased in a crust of bitterness. “Why did this happen?” “When will it end?” are the questions we scream.

Yet the answer is “Who.”

At the end of the darkness stands the One who conquered it, the One who laughed in the face of death.

And he did it while it was still dark. He had already stepped out of that tomb before Mary came to look for him.

Maybe you’re living in the depths of a grief that doesn’t seem to ease. Like me, every day is a reminder of the emptiness in your soul, the place where that loved one used to live.

Maybe you’re struggling with illness. Like my son, every day is a reminder of the health you have lost.

Maybe you’re trudging through emotional pain, the reminders of what others did to you, those who did not care enough about your heart.

While you are in the darkness, Love steps out of the tomb. Life waits for you. The risen Jesus longs to embrace you.

Stay in hope, dear one.

The darkness will gradually fade, and you will breathe life again.

©2018 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved

Advertisements

Christmas with the Red Booties

“Why do you have those red shoes on your tree?” a little friend asked me. She pointed to the felt shoes that hang at the front of my tree.

“Ah…that is a wonderful story,” I said, “and it began many years ago. Would you like to hear it?”

Her dark brown eyes twinkled as she squealed. “Tell it! Tell it, please!”

red bootiesSo I sat down with her and began to explain why the little red booties hang on my tree. “Many years ago, a young lady and a man were married. They worked hard and saved their money and then wanted to start a family. But even though they tried and tried and tried, no baby came to live in their house.

“One year, at Christmas time, the lady thought she was going to have a baby. So she planned how she would tell her parents at Christmas with a pretty package and a note inside. She could barely contain her excitement.

“But then the doctor said she would not have a baby, so her Christmas that year was very sad.”

“Years and years passed by with no baby and many sad Christmases. But six years later, the lady was finally pregnant and was so excited. All the friends and family of the couple were excited to celebrate this coming child, but the baby died before it could grow to full size inside the lady. Everybody cried for a long time.

“Two years later, the lady again was pregnant and the same people celebrated with the lady and her husband. But again, the baby died before it could grow. Again, everybody cried – especially the lady. She decided she would probably never hold her own baby but she would teach everybody’s else’s children how to play the piano and try to be happy for all the people who had the blessing of babies.

“Then two years later, a miracle happened. The lady and the man welcomed their baby, a fully-developed and beautiful boy who was born on the coldest day of that November during a sleet storm. The tiny baby was such a wonderful present for Christmas that the lady bought special red booties for him to wear to church.”

“I like that story,” my little friend said, “and you were the lady in the story, weren’t you?”

“Yes, and the baby is my son, Caleb.”

My little friend pondered a while and then asked, “So you put the little booties on the tree every year, to remind you of that baby — your Caleb?”

“Yes, and those booties also remind me of another baby. He probably didn’t have any booties to wear, but his mother and father dearly loved him. He arrived as a special miracle, too, and that’s the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Baby Jesus came to remind us that God loves us and wants to give us eternal life.

“So that’s the story of the red booties, but the real story goes on. For each person who believes in baby Jesus and accepts the love of God, new stories begin. Stories of love and purpose as people realize Christmas is all about the wonderful gift of life and the miracles that God does inside our hearts.”

©2013 RJ Thesman – “The Unraveling of Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/11QATC1