meadowrueflowerWhere do you find hope?

This weekend was really tough. Saturday, someone our family loved very much died after a difficult struggle with cancer. The next morning, our four-month-old baby woke up with a low fever. He seemed okay, but that afternoon got suddenly sicker resulting in a panicked phone call to our pediatrician.

Thankfully, our son, Ezra, was fine. But the sorrow of having lost our beloved daughter Ruth two years ago after a similarly mild illness has left a lingering terror of losing another child. It has also robbed me of my confidence that I’ll be able to know when a sickness is serious and when it isn’t. By Sunday night, Ezra was sleeping fitfully, but I was wide awake, laying under my covers beside him in our bedroom, wondering how I could go on.

Each new loss, each grief brings with it the sorrow of how unpredictable life can be. Of the impossibility of making perfect choices. Of knowing bad things happen, it’s not a matter of “if” but of “when.”

Earlier that same morning, I’d stood in front of our adult Sunday school class at church, talking about the incarnation. Of the amazing vulnerability of Christ, born to a humble family, in a dangerous time, susceptible to all the terrors and grief of life. His vulnerability encourages me to trust God, to rely on his protection, to have faith that he is in control.

But when a child is sick.

Or a friend dies.

Or I am haunted by the loss of our daughter.

All I want to do is stop living.

To remove myself from this paralyzing vulnerability.

“It’s too much,” I often tell my husband. “The world is too much for me.”

And I am sure I can’t go on.

At such times, I am grateful for any encouragement I can find. Last night, before switching off the light, I happened to pick up a small book of devotions, “His Treasure,” by Sheri Rose Shepherd. And this is what I read,

“My Beloved… What you see on this earth may cause you to lose hope, but your trust in Me will free you from fear and doubt. Faith in Me will give you the power to persevere with passion and purpose. I want you to learn that what I say and do can never be shaken or taken without your permission. Now breathe in My presence, My child, and choose to never again doubt in the darkness what you know to be true in the light of My truth. Love, Your faithful Father.”

Gratefully, I breathed in his presence and switched off the light.

Because the truth is, this world is too much for me. The loss is too much. The heartache too much. The fear of what may happen next, too much.

But Shepherd’s gentle words were a reminder that even in the dark, I have access to one whose very presence is light–the light that both Ruth and our dear friend abide in now. Days of darkness will come but none of us has to face them alone.

“For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light” Psalm 36:9.

For a chance to win a copy of “His Treasure,” post a comment here any time before Nov. 1, 2013, subscribe to my blog, like my page on Facebook, or share this link! A drawing will be held Nov. 1. Must be in the U.S. to win. The winner will be contacted by email. A free copy of this book was made available to me by Tyndale House Publishers.

His Treasure