April Hope Whispers

God Promises

“For the Lamb on the throne
    will be their Shepherd.
He will lead them to springs of life-giving water.
    And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”

Revelations 7:17

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes,
and there will be no more death
or sorrow or crying or pain.
All these things are gone forever.”

Revelations 21:4

Out of My Hands

“So, when it feels like all of this pain is never gonna end
Brought to my knees by all of these things
I don’t understand, don’t understand
I will let the weight of my fear fall like sand
Out of my hands and into Yours
Out of my hands and into Yours

Letting go of worries I can’t measure
Holding onto truth that’s healing me
Knowing I can trust You is a treasure
With eyes wide open now I finally see…”

Hope Quotes

Hope is the silver shaft of sun breaking through the storm-darkened sky, words of comfort in the intensive care unit, the first spring bird perched on a snow-covered twig, and the finish line in sight. It is a rainbow, a song, a loving touch. Hope is knowing God and resting in His love.” ~ NLT Life Application Study Bible: Zephaniah introduction

“Only God can turn a mess into a message, a test into a testimony, a trial into a triumph, a victim into a victor.” ~ Fern Bernstein

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” ~ C.S. Lewis

Nature Retreat

“If you will stay close to nature, to its simplicity,
to the small things hardly noticeable,
those things can unexpectedly
become great and immeasurable.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~

🙂 This month I’m sharing some of my own photos. 🙂

Arrowhead Park is named after a large, arrowhead shaped granite quarry that is now a lake. It’s one of my favorite nature hangouts, and I’m looking forward to visiting it again when it’s warmer. It’s a peaceful place where nature surprises abound.

I love to imagine where seeds will end up. And it renews my longing that in my words and actions I will scatter seeds of love and kindness always.

Jesus Knows, Understands, and Cares About Each of Our Stories

“What was that?”

Some of the residents here at the 55+ condo association where we live had a hard time hearing me before masks. But now it’s even worse. I know they didn’t hear me when they change the subject or answer way off base.

Then last week I went for my first Covid vaccine. Same problem of not being heard. At the registration, I had to lean in so she could hear me answer her questions.

After the shot, I had to sit among some spaced chairs for at least 15 minutes in case of reactions. As I sat there, I looked around at the eyes above the masks. Some eyes appeared sad or defeated. Have they ever shared their story or their feelings? Were they heard? Really heard? Heard in a way that they felt believed, understood, and supported? Or did they try to tell someone only to feel rejected because of insensitive remarks, changed subjects, or turned backs? Were their burdens belittled and made heavier with Christian platitudes or judgmental opinions?

Whether it’s physical, mental, or emotional pain, everyone has a need to be heard. Really heard, not just on the surface, but at a deeper level of caring about what they’re going through. A lament for their pain. A coming alongside them with empathy, compassion, and respect.

Do you sometimes not feel heard, supported, and valued?
Do you feel alone in your pain?
Do you wonder if God hears your cries?

Jesus always hears us in the deepest way. He already knows the story behind our eyes and is always ready to give us His full, undivided attention. He reaches out with compassion for the hurting. If we’re overwhelmed by pain and sinking in the storms of life, He reaches down and pulls us up and revives us with His life-giving breath. Again and again. His hand is always extended towards us and He never tires of rescuing us.

Jesus invites us to keep pouring out our hearts to Him, even though answers seem slow in coming. He listens with love, not judgment. Jesus is a Faithful Friend who ALWAYS hears us with unbounded love, compassion, empathy, and understanding. He loves us so much that He laid down His life for us. He cares so deeply about our stories that He hurts when we hurt. When others abandon us, He never, ever will. When others don’t believe us or heap guilt upon us, He knows the truth of our stories and will never condemn us.

"He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—
how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? 
Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?
 It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. 
Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—
is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us."
Romans 8:32-34

"Because of Your great compassion
 You did not abandon them in the wilderness.
 By day the pillar of cloud did not fail to guide them on their path, 
nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take."
Nehemiah 9:19

"And the God of all grace, 
who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, 
after you have suffered a little while,
 will Himself restore you and make you
 strong, firm and steadfast."
1 Peter 5:10

“He counts the stars one and all
He knows how much sand is on the shores
He sees every sparrow that falls
He made the mountains and the seas
He’s in control of everything
Of all creatures great and small

And He knows my name
Every step that I take
Every move that I make
Every tear that I cry
He knows my name…”

When We Lose a Young Life and We Ask God Why

“Why, Lord?” Why did You take such a young life away? One who could have continued to be a living witness of Your love?”

As my heart cried, this verse was God’s answer:

“You don’t understand now
what I am doing,
but someday you will.”

John 13:7

A couple of hours later, I found out our grandson, Kaden, had shared that same verse on Instagram.

It only takes a moment for life to drastically change. It was a heartbreaking week for many in our area last week. One evening a teen hit a patch of ice on the road, over-corrected, and rolled down an embankment, hitting a tree. His young life here ended. Only 15 years old. His 16-year-old friend is still in critical condition.

Both teens were in the same youth group as our grandson. Both lived out their faith.

Barry, the one who lost his life, is the only child his parents had. He will be remembered as someone who wanted nothing more than for others to feel welcomed, loved, and noticed.

Tad, the one who is critically injured, is Kaden’s close friend. They have played basketball together for several years. He did come off life support, but he remains in a coma from brain injuries. His body jerks and convulses, but he doesn’t respond.

Tad was 5 when his family immigrated from somewhere in Africa. Kaden said Tad gives whatever money he earns to help out his parents. He lives life passionately. His basketball coach said that last summer Tad missed some basketball practices, because he chose to go to a church camp instead. Even though he loves basketball, Tad says Jesus is still more important.

It’s so heartbreaking, isn’t it? Life is short. We never know what tomorrow will bring. We are but a mist that appears a moment and then vanishes the next.

We don’t understand why now, but someday God will give us light to understand, if not here, then hereafter.

Please pray for Barry’s and Tad’s devastated friends and families. And please pray Tad’s brain will completely heal. Thank you.

If you would like us to pray for a loss or heartache you have, feel free to share in the comments or you can email me in person. I know it’s hard to fix our eyes on Jesus in times when it feels like we’re drowning in grief, but Jesus knows what we’re going through. He cares so deeply and weeps with us. And someday there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.

“Jesus wept.”
John 11:35
He will wipe every tear from their eyes,
and there will be no more death
or sorrow or crying or pain.
All these things are gone forever
.”

Revelations 21:4

There Will Be a Day
by Jeremy Camp

“…But I hold on to this hope and the promise that He brings
That there will be a place with no more suffering
There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place,
Will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face
But until that day, we’ll hold on to you always…”