October Hope Whispers

A Tragedy Redeemed by God’s Grace
Results in Hope for Others

In 2014, a woman died from exposure in a parking garage stairwell, because she wasn’t dressed for the cold. That’s when our KELO news partnered with Lewis Drugs to start Keep Keloland Warm. In October and November, there’s a huge box in Lewis where anyone can put their gently used or new coats. There are distribution times and places where people who can’t afford coats can sort through the tables for warm winter wear for themselves and their children. It’s so humbling and gratifying how thankful many of them are and how excited children are to get a “new” coat, mittens, and caps. It doesn’t erase the sadness of the loss of that woman, but God is good to use a tragedy to wake us up and to give us grace to do what we can to ease the suffering of others.

Jesus says:
“So I give you a new command:
Love each other deeply and fully.
Remember the ways that I have loved you,
and demonstrate your love for others
in those same ways.

John 13:34 VOICE

No Matter What We Feel,
There Is Hope,
Because We Are Loved

You Are Loved
by Stars Go Dim

“…You are loved
If your heart’s in a thousand pieces
If you’re lost and you’re far from reason
Just look up; know you are loved
Just look up; and know you are loved
When it feels like something’s missing
If it hurts but you can’t find healing
Just look up, know you are loved
Just look up, know you are loved

And you, don’t have to prove yourself
Don’t try to be someone else
You don’t have to prove yourself
Don’t try to be someone else…”

God Is With Us In the Pain,
Not Only In the Praise

I am slowly reading through Alia Joy‘s book – Glorious Weakness. There were times I had to lay it aside to deal with memory triggers, but I keep taking it up again, because I feel so understood.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with such gut-wrenching honesty. She doesn’t whitewash the pain of abuse, poverty, loss, racism, injustice, mental illness, chronic illness, or any adversity we go through. She reminds us that “poverty of spirit is the birthplace of all grace” and encourages us to be authentic.

“Sometimes the gospel is perverted to lay a heavy burden on those who most need mercy and grace, who most need a Jesus who meets them in their pain. And I promise you Jesus is that and so much more.”

“What if we believed faith was less about blind devotion to all the right answers and more of an invitation to come fully into relationship with Christ and be met in our most desperate and confusing moments?”

“So often church teaches us to hide our true selves, to cover up our anguish, our rage, our brokenhearted longing for a better story.”

“I wish someone had told me it was okay to succumb to anger, to the great and formidable why? I wish I had understood that God is undaunted by my humanity.”

“Let us pour out the oil of gladness and praise from our lips but let us not forget the wails and cries and pounding fists. God is here too.”

I could keep going with all the truths I highlighted in this book, but these are some of the ones I more recently came across.

Nature is a Retreat of Hope

“All God’s creatures
are a unique
expression of life
whether on earth for 
100 days or 100 years.”
Anthony Douglas Williams

I’m always fascinated by the uniqueness of God’s creatures. Each one has a purpose, whether we enjoy them or are grossed out. Since my brother John moved to Arizona, I am awed by the variety of creatures there, some I’ve never seen before. Thanks again to my brother for sharing his gifts of photography. (🙂 Please respect copyright laws. 🙂)

Hubbard’s Small Silkmouth Caterpillar
Horse Lubber Grasshopper
June Bug and a Bee
Crab Spider
Verdin Bird Eating Bugs
Another Pose of the Verdin Bird

 

Because Jesus Came Down, Love Will Never Fail

“Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast,
it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others,
it is not self-seeking,

it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

Don’t you just love the Christmas movies where love prevails? When a cold heart is melted? When a person’s life is changed for the better?

Sometimes all a person needs is one person in the world who cares. In The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, one little girl wormed her way into The Grinch’s heart. He hated Christmas and all the Whos down in Whoville who celebrated it. Christmas triggered a bad memory from his childhood when he was bullied and not accepted for who he was. But little Cindy Lou didn’t want him to be left out, and no matter how mean The Grinch was to her, she kept showing him she cared until finally the walls around his heart came tumbling down and his heart grew three sizes bigger. And peace was restored in Whoville.

Then there’s Jack Frost in The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause. He tried to take the warmth of love out of Christmas. He wanted it to be about him and his honor, not about love and giving. And again a little child leads, because along comes little Lucy Miller whose heart brims over with love. She hugs Jack Frost, and his cold heart melts and he becomes a better person. And peace was restored at the North Pole.

Even though some Christmas movies are make-believe and don’t speak of how love began with Jesus, there can still be an important message of love in them for our real world. Love changes things. One loving person can make an impact on others.

Sometimes we can get discouraged by all the hate, greed, and violence in this world, but love changes hearts, people, and circumstances. Because love came down at Christmas, peace is possible however impossible it seems.

When Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, tragedy both in the nation and in his family shook him to the core of his being. A raging Civil War, a son crippled from war wounds, and his dear wife’s tragic death sunk him into a deep depression. The joyous ringing of Christmas bells seemed to mock his sadness. Hate is so strong. Where is the peace?

And in despair I bowed my head ;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said ;
“For hate is strong
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men !”

Don’t we sometimes feel the same way when troubles and losses abound and when we look at everything that is happening in the world around us?

But God poured His love in, and hope revived in the heart of Longfellow. In the final stanza, he penned:

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead ; nor doth He sleep !
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men !”

Even though it may not seem so, love will prevail. Hope is still alive, because love came down at Christmas. Because Jesus came, love is possible in a world of hate, greed, and violence. Love can melt hardened hearts, change lives, and pour healing and peace into broken hearts and a broken world. Love that Jesus brought, love that can never be taken away, love that will be victorious forever.

Love Came Down
by Kim Walker-Smith

Love came down
Hope was found
A star lit the sky
The angels cried glory
Light broke through
The darkest night
Hope is alive
Hope is alive
Cause love came down
Love came down

May God pour into our hearts
His love, hope, and peace,
and may we pour it
out to others!