Thursday, November 06, 2008

My Lasting Hope

We called ourselves "The Fam." There was a good size group of us. Many came and went, but once we designated ourselves with a name, it stuck.

Years later the name still sticks. The group, however, is spread far and wide. While once upon a time we knew exactly where to find each other, corner table in the CBC caf generally, we are now in different locations, leading separate lives. Yet, even still we are all still tied together by the name we gave ourselves so many years ago.

During the college years we encountered a variety of trials and tribulations. Many of us were thrown into a dumpster (or maybe that was just me). There were exams, books to read, and the cafeteria food. We played cards and hockey. (Well, I more watched and tried to stay upright on my Rollerblades.) We went camping, caving and canoeing. We ate together, and laughed together- and we occasionally cried (okay- me again!).

And then, this week sadness struck a few members of The Fam as a brother died unexpectedly and tragically. And I know that over the last few years since we have all been apart, this is not the first tragedy. Unfortunately over the next sixty years it probably won't be the last.

Last night I found myself sitting in this small church in a small town in Iowa with this reality washing over me. The reality that we only have one life. The reality that we are none of us immune to heartache and disaster. The reality that life is short, and there are no guarantees.

But I have this hope. I have this hope and faith and belief that God does hold us in His hands. That He works all things for good for those who love Him. And I have this knowledge that no matter how far I fall, if I reach my hand out toward Him, He will life me up and hold me tight. And many will disagree with me, maybe even you as you read this. But as I sat and listened to Jason's sister-in-law, my friend, explain what happened, explain the sorrow and the brokenness this family has encountered over the last few days, and what they will continue to encounter, there was something else on her face, another emotion, and a light behind her tears. She has peace. Peace that only God gives. And as I listened to her talk, heard how she believed God has a purpose in the midst of this tragedy, not knowing what the purpose is, I myself prayed and am still praying that I have that same type of faith, and that type of light in my eyes- NO MATTER the situation.

I am at the same time reminded to take advantage of today. To live like today is all I have to live. I am reminded to tell those that I hold dear, "I love you;" to laugh with all my heart and to cry when my heart is broken; to forgive those things that I have held onto for too long. I need to take risks despite fears. I. Need. To. Live.

Laugh with all your heart.
Smile with all your face.
Hug with all your might.
"Live life with arms wide open."
We only have today.

To the Goodwin family, our prayers are with you.
And to The Fam- All my love.

Psalm 46
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way, and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come and see the works of the Lord, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire. "Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted the earth." The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

This is my hope.

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