Romans 8:39 – No power in the sky above or in the earth below — indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NLT)
Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)
Devastation! — the only word to describe the horrendous scenes of destruction caused by vicious tornadoes and torrential rain which built up into furious flooding, washing out dams, sweeping away countless homes, and resulting in loss of many lives. The faces of those caught on camera reflected so many feelings: dejection, grief, horror, and perhaps worst of all in those moments, a sense of utter hopelessness. My heart reached out to them, and I fervently prayed that God would comfort and strengthen them.
Finally, I switched to another channel to escape temporarily the mind-numbing repetition of the ongoing newscast. I was fortunate to be able to escape the horror. The citizens of Oklahoma and Texas who were caught up in this disaster were not so fortunate.
I turned to what I anticipated would be a more uplifting program. The first words that I heard from the announcer on that particular station told of another sort of devastation: the plight of numberless children who had lost their parents through the heartbreaking disease of AIDS, and who were now battling the dreaded disease themselves.
I immediately noticed the big difference on the faces of a group of children who were playing on some swings and climbing apparatus in the background. They were all smiling and laughing. They had been rescued from the slums of Calcutta, and were now living in a residential mission school called “Hands of Hope”. Here they had a home which provided them with food, shelter, warm beds, clothing, and education. But most importantly, they were given love from the dedicated people who worked there and taught them about a God Who loved them and always would be with them. Some who were being interviewed spoke of what they wanted to be when they grew up. Once again, I was reminded of how life’s devastating experiences are only a breath away, and can hit any one of us at any time, turning our lives upside down. But where there is life, there is hope, because there is a loving God — and He can make all the difference.
Later on in the day, I turned back to the original channel that I had been watching, hoping that they had found more survivors. This time, I heard members of the families who were searching for missing relatives speaking, and there was a totally different atmosphere. This time, the bleakness of despair and hopelessness was replaced by words of hope and faith in God Who gave them strength to go on.
Nothing! Absolutely nothing! No disaster or devastation, no matter how crushing, can crush the spirit of those who have this personal faith and undying hope.
Perhaps some of us have gone through similar experiences when we felt that it was impossible to go on. Then the strengthening arm of our Lord reached out and lifted us to our feet, and we found the hope and faith in Him that has been waiting there for us when we reached out in our pain and desperation and simply called His name. It was then that He met us at our place of greatest need, and that made all the difference. What a blessed opportunity to share this hope with others who suddenly find themselves walking where we walked!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your undying love and compassion. We thank You for the comfort that You give in times of loss and desperation. We thank You for the strength that You give to help us to go on, even one step at a time, and for Your Word that sustains us in our times of deepest need. Amen.
Sharon Greer Sandycove Acres, Innisfil, Ontario, Canada