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As I was going through old emails today, I discovered an email that had a video link to the work site where we build a house earlier this summer. The video shows the dusty location where our team would build a house for Lydia and her family. Check out the video below.
Now look at these pictures of Lydia, her family, and the house.
I don’t know what your situation is right now. I don’t know what uphill battle you are facing. I don’t know the dusty, barren period you have found yourself in recently.
But I do know there is HOPE for you!
My typical weekend writing was interrupted by a variety of circumstances.
First, our house is for sale, and we had a showing at our house on Sunday night after church. We had two piles of mulch and garden soil on the driveway that needed to be moved to our flower beds and garden. Plus, we had to make our final trips around the house making sure everything was clean before we left for church. I missed my normal Sunday morning writing time to move mulch and dirt and to clean up the house.
Second, our weekend was altered by the tragic news that a young teenage girl from our church group had taken her life.
This news has brought about a lot of questions, pondering, and conversation. It also brought sadness.
There are many details surrounding her suicide, and I’m grappling with what I need to know as an adult volunteer in our youth program and as a parent of fellow students and what I simply don’t need to know about the situation.
Last night during our normal youth group programming, we had over 300 students (my estimation) pour into our auditorium to be together, to grieve, and to celebrate the life of their friend and classmate. The time together was a mix of sadness and amazing beauty.
There was singing, stories, and plenty of tears.
My heart aches for the young students who are faced with the loss of a peer and the struggle to sort out their own thoughts and feelings.
I’m reminded of the importance of listening to those in pain. I’m reminded of how essential it is to be a presence in the lives of others. And I’m reminded to be aware of the silent cries of those who simply don’t know how to process the struggles of life.
The weekend also served as a reminder of the amazing volunteers in our youth program. Many of the volunteers took off from work on Friday to be with students on Friday when the news spread of her passing. Don’t underestimate the value of your role in the lives of those who are younger than you.
The weekend also reminded me that there are times when we won’t fully understand parts of this life we find ourselves in on this side of heaven. Sometimes life simply doesn’t make sense.
Finally, the weekend reminded me that beauty can rise from the ashes that follows such tragedy. Relationships can be repaired. People can take steps toward reconciliation. And ultimately, people can find God when events like this happen.
Pray for the family and friends of this young woman.
Be on the look out for those who are hurting around you.
If you are desperate, hurting, and lonely, find someone to lean on.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
This morning, I spilled my coffee (decaf of course) all over my left shoe and the parking lot as I was heading into the place where I was going to be writing.
Friday afternoon, I started feeling the onset of a cold. By this weekend, the cold was in full swing.
My wife and I have had our house on the market for nearly 3 months, and it hasn’t sold yet.
Work has been extremely busy lately, and it seems like we don’t have the resources to execute on what our sales department sold.
I have been exchanging messages with a friend in Guatemala about a widow who is facing a challenging situation regarding her housing situation.
I don’t mean to sound depressing, but sometimes life can be challenging. In fact, there are things happening around us everyday that can lead to discouragement.
As I was spending time this morning in God’s Word, I came across this passage from Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18:
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen it eternal.
This is what it means to have HOPE!
We will face junk in our lives. This is part of the earthly experience ever since sin entered the world. But despair and hopelessness is not the final answer.
As we approach Easter, it’s a great time to remember the HOPE we have – a HOPE that lasts – a HOPE that breaks through the spilled coffee, the common cold, the unsold houses, the challenging work situations, and even the immediate needs of a widow and her family in Guatemala.
In the midst of your challenges and despair, I pray you’ll know this HOPE.
The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him. Nahum 1:7
This week, I had the privilege of being a guest on Carol Graham’s podcast, Never… Ever… Give Up Hope.
(You can also access the interview on iTunes, by clicking here.)
I think the interview will STRETCH you, encourage you, and give you HOPE.