"Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all. For man does not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them." Ecclesiastes 9:11-12
Spring is my favorite season! Just as the earth begins to dance after a long, dormant winter season, so my soul smiles with these new beginnings. For about a week now, I have been in the Sandhills of North Carolina, dogwood country! I LOVE dogwood blossoms, and the dogwoods are dressed in their finest this time of year. Dogwoods are everywhere; some old, some wild, some maturing, some beginning, some struggling, some flourishing, reminding me of the many journeys in life, reminding me of the HOPE in new beginnings.
Like many of you, my week is marked with the violence at the Boston Marathon. While many of us know people who were present at the race and most of us know people who are safe and not hurt, the whole world feels the tragic loss of the few who died, and weeps for the life-changing injuries suffered by those present. We describe our reactions with words like angry, sad, shocked, frustrated, confused, overwhelmed, and when we get good news, with thankfulness and relief. With each new act of senseless violence, there is another fresh underlying threat woven into the fabric of our lives. We cannot help but examine our emotions of vulnerability.
In Ecclesiastes, we find the wisdom of King Solomon which shakes up our comfort zones, opens up our gates of protection. Bad things happen and happen to all people and happen suddenly without warning. We do not like the injustice of these truths. Words fail us. Grief captures us. Reality consumes us. When our security is threatened, the truth of our frailty reveals itself. We desperately long for a HOPE that is ever-present!
The last verse in Ecclesiastes (12:14) says this: "Eventually God will bring everything that we do out into the open and judge it according to its hidden intent, whether it's good or evil." Unfortunately, the vulnerabilities in life enter into our lives daily while on this earth. Our HOPE is always in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, the redemption of Jesus Christ and the Sovereignty of God. These NEVER change, not with situations, not with seasons. His Presence must be our Comfort zone, our Gate of protection. HOPE is ever-present! Where are you looking for HOPE? ~dho
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