Hope in Uncertain Times

One day in December I stopped at the local gas station to fill the tank because I was going out that evening. It was the day of our annual church Christmas dinner. When I went inside to pay, the clerk was watching a little TV. I couldn’t help but hear what was being talked about, and I asked “did that just happen?” (Not having television myself, I never quite know if I am current on the latest news.) She said yes, and its only going to get worse (I think she was referring to that Mayan calendar thing.) It was news of the horrible elementary school shooting in Connecticut. I got back in my car and cried.

That night I went on to church for our Christmas dinner. Because that’s what we do in America. We say our lives will be changed forever. But the next day we go out for lunch with our friends.

Our church dinner is always a very pretty affair. Each table is hosted by a different woman, and she decorates the table using her best dishes and Christmas decorations. Honestly, it kind of irritates me. But that is a story for another time. At some point during the dinner I looked around the room and thought, it could happen here. This is exactly the kind of unexpected place where this kind of unexpected horror could take place. Uncertain times.

And it just continued on from there. A blogger died unexpectedly. A friend’s husband got cancer and was gone in four months. The Boston Marathon. West, TX. Uncertain times.

Brene Brown spoke about the collective fear she sees in our culture since 9/11 hit.

Anne Lamott wrote about her trip to Europe. A friend advised her that she needed to see a concentration camp in person “to get at a cellular level the fact that despite our great love and art, we are a violent species. Cain is still killing Abel.” There was a beginning, but there is no end to evil in our world.

When we are honest and true, we know deep down that all of life is uncertain. We just relate more to certain events. “It could have been my child.” “I am a runner.” “I am a blogger.” “My brother lives in west Texas…” And the biggest fear “It could have been me.”

As always, I turn to my God for answers. I’m afraid there are many things that won’t be answered clearly in this lifetime. I don’t pretend to understand why these things happen. I won’t try to give you trite answers, or to tie everything up in a neat little theological package with a pretty little bow on top.  But I was comforted by the words I found in the Psalms. For me, this is the only way I can live. I hope in my God. He is my Rock and my fortress.

I run to Him in uncertain times. And I find hope.

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(You can see more of the quilt on my quilt blog.)

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17 thoughts on “Hope in Uncertain Times

  1. I am a frequent visitor, and I have commented in the past several years ago. I wanted to comment today, though, because I think your reflection here is beautiful. As a Christian, I found that what you have written truly resonates with me. And I appreciate that you do not sugarcoat the bad events in the world–life is hard (Christ and Paul said it would be!) But as a Christian, I have hope in God too. You have such a beautiful heart, and I love your quilt!

    • You truly make me LOL Shelley!

      So, since I’m not really going to write a post about table decorations (do I hear a collective cheer going up?) I will try to explain here in the comments.

      We are a group of Christians gathering together to celebrate/fellowship/worship. The table decorations often lead to competitive spirits, separatism (“will you sit at ‘my’ table?”,) grumbling, and oftentimes, a lack of appreciation for all the work the hostesses do. None of those things has anything to do with loving one another, serving one another, and ‘welcoming strangers.’

      And I realize that my critical spirit is neither loving or kind 🙂

  2. We so often completely overlook little miracles as we demand answers and explanations for the events that defy answers or explanations. And one such “little” miracle is the fact that you posted these words on this day for ME. You could’ve posted this yesterday or tomorrow, but you didn’t, You posted it today and as one who feels as if everyone else is hitting me right and left with unexplainable circumstances in their own lives for which I can do nothing accept hug, love and pray, well, all I can say is thanks friend. And don’t ever try to tell me that friends on opposite sides of the country can’t instinctively know when specific words are needed. And just for the record, I know EXACTLY why the table decoration thing irritates you!

    • Sharon, you don’t know what a miracle it is. Because I have thought about this pretty much non-stop since December, and many times have felt like a slackard for not posting it. So thank you for sharing that.

      LOL on the table decorations. That is my own frailty that made me leave that sentence in there 🙂

  3. “When we are honest and true, we know deep down that all of life is uncertain.”
    And fleeting. We can get so caught up in the scary stuff, but you said it perfectly… to keep our eyes on God, trust in Him, put our hope in Him. Wonderful post, full of strength and peace.

  4. Lovely post, Debby. It’s not always easy to have faith of find hope in uncertain times, but it’s always worthwhile.

  5. This is a lovely post, Debby. I am not religious, but I try to see the good in people that can come out of horrible things. I hope that I am one of those people who would rush towards victims to help and not away. We can better the world by bettering ourselves.

  6. Love that you wrote this and also comments. Competitive spirit is alive and well in the Church and I feel the same as you.

    I am reminded of the verse Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

    Without hope we are severely depressed. Faith grows as we study and learn about the thing we hope in or we see our error and realise we were holding onto a false hope,

    The Psalms are my comfort food. Your quilts are true and encourage me tremendously.

    Blessings

  7. Well, I had to respond to this. It irritates me that the hostesses seem to compete with their table decor at those dinners, because the focus is taken away from presenting Christ, which is generally the purpose of these dinners.

    As to the heinous things that happen in our world, I walked into a gas station robbery a year or so ago, and I went home and cried and shook all over. I couldn’t stop thinking about that young guy in a hoodie and a big black gun, turning and looking at me. Why he didn’t shoot me, I’ll never know. But now I think to myself, God brought me through that! What can’t I do now? I am here for a purpose, His purpose.

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