January 1, 2016, dawned bright and clear in Chennai. The sky was a beautiful shade of blue with fluffy white clouds, and little birds chirped sweetly as I went to church. A gentle breeze blew as I walked in to take my seat. The day was so beautiful that it was almost picture-postcard perfect. But my heart was so heavy, it felt like the opposite of what the day looked like.
This was all wrong, I told myself. This was the first day of the year. This was the day we hoped for the best. This was the day we started afresh. Yet I felt so hopeless. What could weigh a person down on the first day of the year? My list of worries seemed endless, but on the top of it was my mother-in-law's health. My mother-in-law, whom I love so dearly, my mother-in-law who has a larger than life personality, my mother-in-law who loves me like her own daughter, had been fighting a losing battle for the last five years with a horrible disease called dementia. Every time we make a trip to Chennai her condition seems far worse than our previous visit. And so I worry. I worry about her comfort. I worry about my father-in-law who takes care of her. I worry about the helpers who come to help them.
I was so worried the entire trip that I could hardly enjoy our vacation. I worry about my brothers' futures. I worry about my son's school situation. I worry about my daughter's safety. I worry about the mundane and I worry about the extraordinary. Every issue I worry about seems hopeless. Almost every conversation I have had in the recent past has begun with a frown and a sigh.
Then one day, my beloved husband (who was probably tired of the whiney worrisome wife) sat me down and gently reminded me of a beautiful portion of scripture from Matthew.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" Mathew 6:25-27
This scripture was like a soothing lotion to my itchy worry. As I let the passage sink in he asked me, "What can you achieve by worrying?" Nothing! Absolutely nothing! If I as a human, am so concerned about these dear ones how much more then, the God who created them?
Nothing! Absolutely nothing! If I as a human, am so concerned about these dear ones how much more then, the God who created them?
Instead, I thought, if I hope, then there is some value in it. When I hope in Jesus my entire perspective changes. If the object of my worry is the situation I am in, then the subject of my hope is Jesus! And that just thrills me, because Jesus has promised an eternal life which will be free from sickness, will be safe, and just, and fair. (And, hopefully, doesn't have a school with the Indian education system.)
As I kept researching and meditating on this topic there were few more scriptures that I came across that I would like to share.
"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Therefore when I hope in Jesus, the situation that I am in doesn't seem endless and hopeless and worrisome. They are only temporal and transient as compared to the eternal life that he promises. Another quote that I came across recently by C. S Lewis states that,
“At present we are on the outside . . . the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the pleasures we see. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Someday, God willing, we shall get 'in' . . . We will put on glory . . . that greater glory of which Nature is only the first sketch."
Oh how I long for that day. The day that the pages of the New Testament talk about. The day when I will see my mother-in-law restored to glory in perfect health. The day when we will be made perfect. The day when this world will be made perfect again. And, therefore, I hope, and I yearn, and long with breathless anticipation for that glorious day. I invite you to join with me and exchange your worry for this glorious hope.
In conclusion, a benediction from Romans:
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." Romans 15:13
May this new year be a year brimming with hope.
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