Hanging On To Hope

As the Kansas winter blustered through my yard, I noticed a unique snapshot of the season.leaf - hanging on

Although all the other leaves had already let loose and dropped to the ground, one leaf still hung on.

In spite of the wind, the calendar day and its length of life – a lone leaf clung tightly to the branch that had given it life.

It didn’t take long to wrap my heart around the analogy and honor thousands of saints who continue to cling tightly to their true source of life.

They persevere in spite of the calendar days that scream, “You should have given up already.”

They hang on in spite of the circumstances of life or the opinions of others or even of well-meaning friends who speak cruelty.

These are people who inspire me to persevere as well:

  • The single mom who drives her children to church even though she has been shunned because she’s divorced
  • The writer who revises the same manuscript seven times until every word is as good as it can possibly be – then ignores another rejection to revise it again
  • The cancer patient who refuses to be a victim but spends her time during brutal radiation treatments, praying through her list of friends and family
  • The nonprofit organizations who operate on a financial shoestring and trust God to provide resources each and every day
  • The missionaries who continue to serve even when their prayers don’t merge with the answers they long to see

Persevering folks who keep hanging on to hope even when everything in life attacks them.


Brave and vulnerable caregivers who keep serving even when the days are 36 hours long.

Mothers who keep praying for their prodigals. Fathers who work jobs they hate so their children won’t go hungry. Christians who refuse to deny Christ even though faced with the wrath of a radical Muslim sect.

The power of those who persevere is modeled at the end of Hebrews 11 – saints who refused to be released from torturous prisons, faced rejection and persecution, were destitute and mistreated. They did not receive what they were promised but they hung on anyway. They persevered and “the world was not worthy of them.”

What is required to continue in hope when everyone else has let loose and fallen around us?

Courage and the grace to keep hanging on to the One who empowers us with resurrection life.

©2015 RJ Thesman – Author of the Reverend G books http://amzn.to/1rXlCyh

 

Life on Fragile

What a sad week!

First came the news reports about Christians in Iraq suffering intense persecution. Then followed the national gasp as we learned of the tragic deaths of Robin Williams and Michael Brown. By the end of the week, I vacillated between hating to watch the news yet knowing I should find out the most current of events.

In my gratitude journal, I struggled to find something positive to record and finally settled on “Freedom.”Amer flag

I watched the internet video of Iraqi parents throwing their children into the arms of special forces inside a helicopter. What a crushing sorrow yet a final desperate act to ensure freedom for your child! What a fragile distance between dying on the mountain or flying off toward freedom!

As I watched clips of Robin Williams and his brilliant career, I shuddered at the loss of this incredible talent. But I also understood his last desperate act. In the darkest moments of my own depression, I also faced that moment when I attempted to escape via suicide. It was a divine scream that distracted me and gave me the opportunity to breathe another day.

Depression becomes a prison that steals our freedom to live abundantly.

The events regarding Michael Brown occurred not far from where I live, a mere four hours away on the turnpike. Yet this week, I felt a kinship to that mother who lost her son. My skin is the palest of white, and I felt ashamed whenever I saw African American citizens in my town, wishing I could change the past and the present for them, hating that once again – we were forced to dialogue about the same dreaded subject.

Once again, freedom was at risk as racist remarks and protests made me wonder – do we still not get it? Have we not learned that the soul is transparent no matter what color of skin covers it?

In each of these cases, freedom was the topic, hidden in that fragile place between desire and acceptance. In each case, my own freedoms seemed underscored.

  • I cherish my freedom to worship God when and where I choose.
  • I respect my freedom to live and honor my soul’s cry for mental and physical health.
  • I vote for and fight for the freedoms of all Americans to be their authentic selves, no matter what race or gender.

Every day last week, I wrote “freedom” in my gratitude journal. Throughout each day, I prayed for the Christians in Iraq and for the families of Robin Williams and Michael Brown.

And every morning, as consciousness invaded my dreams, I whispered, “God – thank you for my life of freedom. But please, oh please – help us to respect the fragility of life. And oh God, please – keep us free.”

©2014 RJ Thesman – Intermission for Reverend G – http://amzn.to/1l4oGoo