A Beacon of Hope

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”

  (2 Corinthians 8:9 ESV)

We must first prepare mentally and emotionally for our yearly journey….a pilgrimage of sorts to our past childhood land…. A rather short journey but seemingly so very far away… down a stretch of highway to a place where I once loved and belonged…and quite honestly……still do……..

I grow in increasing fear and trepidation while traveling west-bound down this small stretch of highway to once again see my childhood place for I remember my last visit where I found increasing ruin and even greater and growing poverty.  A type of poverty which deeply injures my heart, and causes me to grieve for those who appear to have lost all hope. 

We exit the highway to this well-known place with child-like familiarity…..  Of familiar roads I once traveled regularly… and of familiar sidewalks I once walked regularly.  I soon notice a frail and sickly elderly woman sitting on a bench near a bus stop…her face sullen and distraught…her seemingly twisted pain so very apparent….as she sits and stares motionless at this temporary world passing her by……and I wonder momentarily of her huge life’s story and of the once lively treasures and memories which must be deeply hidden within, the type of treasures and memories which I currently seek to re-visit today.

We travel north-bound… up the familiar streets which leads directly to my childhood home…I wince in pain briefly at the thought of this future sight… and I brace myself for what I may… in just mere minutes…… eventually find…..this safe place which once sheltered me from harm and contained all my hopes and dreams…this fun refuge where young friends were once abundant…this protected shelter where my beloved youngest brother and I once shared laughter and tears trying desperately to mask the unspoken pain… this safe and loving haven where l last saw my beautiful mother alive and heard her voice so tenderly…. so very long ago……Oh the vivid memories this yearly journey brings…….

childhood home 1

Childhood home 3

It still stands…for yet another year…….My profound sadness is overflowing as I look among the ruin…and the poverty….and the hopelessness of community…and I quickly think of the One who resides deep within me…the same One I share with this hopeless and impoverished community… with all communities rich or poor……..the One who remains the same and never changes….…..and my heart screams out in pain with the name of my Savior…. Jesus…….and I immediately think of my sacred childhood sanctuary……where HE and I were first formally introduced….

Just a few blocks west of my childhood home once stood my very sacred childhood sanctuary……but it has been decades since I last passed by this sacred place…and I wonder and I ponder in hopeful desperation……..What will I now find there among the ruin and poverty of a hopeless community? 

childhood church

It still stands…A Beacon of Hope……Still very much alive and well……..and welcoming all those who are hopeless and impoverished to come…..  To hear…. And to accept His glorious gift….

“The poor man and the oppressor meet together; the Lord gives light to the eyes of both.” (Proverbs 29: 13 ESV)

Are you living within a type of poverty, where all hopelessness is lost?  Spiritual poverty is what you must greatly fear…..for if He is residing within you…….. Your riches reside inside….

Your riches are not of this world….

Your riches are yet to come….

Do not lose hope…….

Do not lose faith……..

 

“There are many forms of poverty: economic poverty, physical poverty, emotional poverty, mental poverty, and spiritual poverty.  As long as we relate primarily to each other’s wealth, health, stability, intelligence, and soul strength, we cannot develop true community.  Community is not a talent show in which we dazzle the world with our combined gifts.  Community is the place where our poverty is acknowledged and accepted, not as something we have to learn to cope with as best as we can but as a true source of new life.”

—Henri Nouwen

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