She hung up the phone in disbelief, then called me. "Mom, remember Jake...kidney boy? He has cancer now." A few summers back, when she was having trouble finding a job, I encouraged her to find a volunteer opportunity. Taking my advice, she went on craigslist and found someone her age who needed a kidney transplant and offered hers. Not exactly the dog-walking position I was hoping she'd find...anyway, her offer was not accepted but she struck up a friendship with the young man. Last night he called to say he'd been in the hospital for the past week, newly diagnosed with lymphoma.
I could hear the question, the challenge, in her voice. How can a God who is supposed to be good do this? When your faith is not solid, all ground is sinking sand. Gently, not diminishing the starkness of the situation, I said that God must have a brilliant plan for her friend to allow this, and that I would pray for him and his family. "Yeah mom, but this sucks" was her reply. And from where she's standing, it does. It's in moments like this that I am so grateful for the hope I have, the hope that does not perish.
Eating dinner last night, enjoying the sunshine coming in the patio door, we could hear the live updates from a tornado in Oklahoma. Surreal does not describe the feeling of knowing there were people seeking shelter in their basements at the same moment I was just doing what I normally take for granted. I suppose though, that every day is like that. Someone is living while someone else is dying.
Joy and pain.
Sun and rain.
Endings and beginnings.
And God never changes.
What do we, who have the hope of Christ, do in times like this? Do we stand, heads hanging, giving voice to fear and complaint, with the world? Or, as Peter put it so eloquently, will we be a people chosen to declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9)? He is supplying no end of darkness these days. Just turn on the news, read a newspaper, look into the faces of the people around you. The need for hope is overwhelming in this world. What will we do? Cluck and sigh and wring our hands...or claim the promise of peace and use the trials He provides as an opening to share the truth?
C.S. Lewis says that God whispers in our good times but shouts in the bad times. He is shouting right now. Will you be bold in your faith and lead someone to the hope that Christ offers? We don't have to defend Him or try to make sense of a tragic situation. We just need to share what we know...that Jesus offers refuge, a haven. He alone is enough, and we should live like we believe that.
Hear the reminder that He alone is the Hope of the world, His promise to never let go, in this song by David Crowder..