Wednesday, December 27, 2017
We are right smack in the middle of the holiday season, with Thanksgiving and Christmas just past…as well as Hanukkah...and New Year’s Day fast approaching.
As I write, the ground which is already white with snow and ice, is getting a fresh coating of the cold flakes falling and blowing outside. I hope you, my readers, have had a meaningful Christmas celebration, even if it has been radically different from those you experienced before.
Our Christmas was very different, with very few of the usual traditions available to us this year, but some new opportunities arose to fill the void.
The transitions and changes in holiday celebrations forced by divorce (or death, or moving, or job loss, or…) can be difficult to face, but bring with them opportunities for something new and fresh. There is an old saying I like that says that, “The only thing that never changes is that everything is always changing!” (God excepted, of course.) One can become so fixated on the fact that if there had not been this life changing event, everything would be the way it was, that it is easy to forget that this isn’t true…life always changes.
We get older. Finances grow and decline. People move from one place to another. Children grow up, go to college, marry and start careers.
Life is a continuous flow of changes. It may be necessary to mourn the losses of the familiar past, but it is unwise to live there. Change brings loss with it, but it also brings something fresh, and opportunities for new memories, meanings and relationships. The trick, it seems to me, is to be able to mourn the losses appropriately while embracing the possibilities that come with a changing future and turning them into something good.
As you are experiencing this year’s celebrations and whatever changes have come in your life, I encourage you to be intentional about creating something special today that will become a special memory tomorrow. Each day is a gift to use for God and for good. Don’t miss the opportunity you have today. Take hold of the changes that are thrust into your life, and shape them into a treasure for tomorrow.
With best wishes for a blessed holiday to each of you…Richard
Sunday, December 17, 2017
HAS SOMEONE ACTED “WICKEDLY” TOWARDS YOU?
Do you happen to remember the question, “Why do the wicked proser?” It originates with the prophet Jeremiah, in chapter 12 of his book. The passage actually reads:
Righteous are you, O Lord,
when I complain to you;
yet I would plead my case before you.
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
Why do all who are treacherous thrive? (ESV)
It seems to me that, very often, this is the kind of question one asks during the process and aftermath of divorce, and holidays such as Christmas or Thanksgiving can often bring to the forefront this very issue. One party may find themselves extremely financially strapped and really feel it during the holiday season, while the other party seems to go merrily on their way, even though their behaviors have been sinful or vicious. One party may struggle with children who seem clueless about how abusive the ex had been, and find that the children continue to favor a parent who has been “wicked,” if you will. One party may be frustrated as the judge rules time and again against him or her, when they know the requests are more than fair and that the other party is not being honest with the judge. One party may find that honesty turned out to not be the best policy, and judge, friends, children, or even other family members have been taken in my the various misrepresentations promulgated by the ex.
During the holidays, when family celebrations are the norm and memories of better days swirl around those family times, one can struggle with the justice of God when facing the holidays with a family splintered, divided and wrestling with a court mandated schedule. These are just a few examples…many of my readers could add many other scenarios based upon their own life situation. It can be very hard. And it certainly can lead one to wonder with Jeremiah, “Why does the way of the wicked perish?”
The answer to the question is given multiple times in scripture: you aren’t seeing the whole story. We often take a short view of things, but when you take a longer view, then you will realize that God is ultimately working perfect justice, some of which you may not be able to see this side of heaven. In addition, we must always remember that we are only seeing things from the external perspective. From that perspective, it may appear everything is wonderful for that individual you think is prospering, but you cannot see the hidden hurts of their lives, or the struggles that may be there of which you are not aware. In some cases, their hearts may be weighed down with a load of guilt and shame that is not obvious from the outside, a load that anything but fun to carry.
Probably the best answer of all came from the lips of Jesus, when Peter was informed of how his life would end, and in response he asked Jesus, “What about John?” Jesus response was, in effect, “What happens with John is between me and John….your job, Peter, is to follow me.” You can read it yourself in John 21:18-23. The point is, to effectively deal with the hurts and move on in our lives, we need to not worry about what is and isn’t happening with someone else, nor spend our time comparing with others, but simply follow Jesus the best way we know how, in the paths he leads us. Then, we trust that he will do what is right and just, and that is enough.
Sunday, December 10, 2017
CAN I SHARE WITH YOU?
|Christo de la Concordia, Cochabamba, Bolivia|
As we continue through the Christmas season, I am always mindful for those who will find it a very difficult time as they deal with loss, sorrow, fragment relationships or the aftermath of divorce that sometimes can linger for years. I am aware of several this year who are finding this to be a difficult holiday.
However, if you don’t mind, I thought I’d share some thoughts from this morning at church, more about Christmas than divorce per se, but with some thoughts that might bring some encouragement or meaning for any of my readers.
The focus for today’s message was on Zechariah and Elizabeth, when they were given the announcement that they would have a child, John the Baptist, who would be the forerunner of Messiah, even though they had already grown old and Elizabeth was well beyond the child-bearing years. We examined their situation from a variety of angles, but there were a few points about their example that I think can speak to many of us, no matter what our situation in life. Those are what I want to share tonight.
If you don’t recall the story, you might want to refresh your memory by reading over Luke 1, where the entire story is recorded. One thing we observed is that in the birth narratives of Jesus and John, Elizabeth was that, of the four adults (Joseph, Mary, Zechariah and Elizabeth), Elizabeth was the only one who did not receive God’s message through the voice of an angel. She, apparently, got her information only from her husband, Zechariah. In addition, she and Zechariah were promised, not the Messiah as a son, but kind of “second best,” the forerunner for Messiah. In spite of these things, Elizabeth had no complaints, but humbly and gratefully received the gift God has chosen to give, in the manner God chose to give it. Elizabeth was a person who was simply thrilled to be any part of what God was doing. And, in spite of the risk of childbirth at an advanced age, she never made excuses, simply trusting that what God has called her to do, he would also give the strength for her to do, that God never asks more of us than he will enable us to face with his help. Some of you may be facing some pretty hard things right now in your lives…Elizabeth set us a pretty good example, wouldn’t you say?
When the message from God came, Zechariah and Elizabeth were very old, and would have long since given up on the dream of having a baby of their own. In a culture where passing on the family name and inheritance is a very important thing, it would have been tough to have had to let go of that dream. But God had other plans for them. Even though they thought it was all over, that their chance had long since passed, God did not think so. Instead, God thought it was the perfect time in their lives for him to bring them a child. And when he did, Zechariah and Elizabeth were able to embrace the work that God was doing on their behalf and through their obedience.
Are there areas in your life where you feel like it is too late, that your prayers have gone unanswered, causing you to give up hope? The experience of Elizabeth and Zechariah remind us that God’s timing is never too late, and nothing is hopeless with God. God is not bound by our perspectives of the limitations in our lives. He can do things that seem impossible, he answers prayers in his own time, and his work is always perfect. Elizabeth and Zechariah probably felt like they were nearing the end of their lives, the end of their usefulness. They learned that they were just on the verge of the greatest work of God they had ever experienced.
If you are a person who has areas of struggle and hopelessness, let the story of this godly couple rekindle in you the hope that God does know what he is doing, and that you are never beyond the hope and possibilities of God. As they experienced, perhaps you, too, are on the verge of something you can’t imagine at this time, and the best days of your life are yet to come. Don’t give up until God says it is over and you are through. God’s plans transcend our limited understanding, and it is always a mistake to try to place our limits on his possibilities for our lives.
As you move toward your celebration of Christmas, I encourage you to open yourself up to the voice of God, to hear from him as they did, the possibilities that God has in store for your life.
Listen for his voice.
God is always doing incredible things around us if we can but just recognize his hand at work, and then, best of all, let yourself be part of that great work. Then you, too, will have an incredible story to share.
Sunday, December 3, 2017
Hi all! It’s been a while since I’ve posted a blog…it’s been an extremely busy fall, including a 10 day mission study down in Bolivia in mid-November. I’ll include a shot or two of some of the beautiful scenery I enjoyed there. Let me tell you, just that short time down there provided ample evidence that God is on the move in that country! I met some great people, and some very impressive and dedicated pastors and missionaries while there.
I hope you had a good Thanksgiving…for many who have suffered a divorce in their families, we are in the midst of the hardest time of the year. Family gatherings become reminders that your family has been fragmented, often because of the empty spaces at the table where the ex-spouse sat, or where the children might have been if they weren’t over celebrating with your ex. Traditions that had become familiar can seem hollow, or instead of bringing back fond memories, become painful reminders of the loss and disappointment. For some, it is just the opposite…as they experience a sense of opportunity they did not have before to embrace a new future and create new traditions that are more reflective of who they are and what they want their lives to be. It’s just too bad that having new options is something that has was the byproduct of a broken relationship and love that died.
So I have a simple question for you as you enter this holiday season, a question that applies regardless what your family situation is.
Here is my question: How are you planning to make a time and way for you and those you love to remember and celebrate what these holidays really mean….the giving of thanks to God and the day God came to earth as a child in a manger to change lives for all eternity?
Answering that question well is what will determine the real success and joy of your holiday season.
It is so easy to get caught up with the hectic activities, with the mad pace and misplaced priorities, with planning all the things that don’t really matter and then finding that we have no time left for the tiings that really do.
At my church today, the message focused on King Herod and the fact that he was given an opportunity of a lifetime
…the opportunity to see the newborn Messiah,
the opportunity to really worship God,
the opportunity to have his life changed for good with eternal consequences
….but he chose to ignore, reject, and even fight against that opportunity.
That is the same reaction many will give to the true meaning of Christmas and Thanksgiving this year. God will be ignored, invitations to bow before the Christ of the manger will be rejected, and, I am sure, once again there will be those protesting public displays of Nativity scenes in our communities. But for those who decide they DO want to be a part of what God is doing, there is meaningful and eternal adventure just around the corner.
I found it an interesting contrast that, in Cochabamba, Bolivia, prominently and proudly displayed on a hill dominating the city was a giant statue depicting Christ, visible throughout the city. What a great reminder I had at the start of the holidays! What a great reminder those Bolivians have on a daily basis…at least, those who take the time to look up. In fact, there was a fountain and light show by the city’s family park which featured multiple times images of that Christ statue. Imagine THAT happening here in the U.S., instead of the protesting and lawsuits by people who loudly reject the Christmas message of peace, love and God with us.
Well, it’s good to be back in touch again…hopefully my schedule will return to normal and I can post regular blogs. In the meantime, if you come up with a really good way to keep your focus where it should be through the holidays, I invite you to share it here on the blog or facebook page…it might just help someone else who is looking for some answers of their own this year.
Sunday, October 1, 2017
Well, it has been a few days since I blogged…still making life transitions, and it is taking a while to come to some kind of equilibrium. Hopefully, that won’t last forever. Thanks for your patience…one of these days I will get this back on track regular.
Lots has been happening around the world. Tensions have risen with North Korea to dangerous levels…certainly a need for prayer there.
Incredible devastation and need due to the hurricanes, visible especially in Puerto Rico, but just as prevalent in other Carribbean locations and across the southern United States. Whenever I see such instant devastation, it always evokes several responses from me.
One is that it graphically shows in the material world what divorce often feels like in the emotional world…just devastating. The other response is that I am always grateful that in whatever struggles I experience in life, I have NOT had to go through the kind of suffering I see in Puerto Rico these day, nor even the extreme loss and upheaval many are experiencing still in Houston and other locations. Like many of you, I am sure, I also find myself wondering how I best could help make a difference in such a huge disaster.
In the midst of all the important news about things going on in the world, we have now been informed that Hugh Hefner died. And many people are acting as if that is some great tragedy. The real tragedy is that he apparently died without ever having repented from his life of debauchery and self-centeredness, and that means entering eternity without Christ.
People have talked about what he has contributed to society, and eulogized him as if he was a great and wonderful person. But stop and consider, what DID he contribute to society?
Well, he has helped create an unrealistic image of what women are supposed to look like that has left many women feeling insecure, inadequate, and unloved.
He has spent his life elevating the importance of the beauty of a woman’s body, which is generally something that is the result of DNA, but has completely ignored the true beauty that is the beauty within, which any woman can nurture.
He has exalted and glamorized immorality, undermining the commitment of marriage and created a false image of what love is. In addition, Hefner’s creation of an unrealistic image of a woman’s beauty has resulted in similarly unrealistic expectations by men.
He has also fostered the replacement of love with lust, living out that passion in his own life and his haven of debauchery. He has allowed himself to become an agent of Satan, providing temptation to sin for generations of men, and helping build an industry centered around that same temptation, which has wreaked devastation upon many marriages and in the lives of many men and women.
Hefner lived his narcissistic and hedonistic life for his own pleasure, and encouraged others to do the same. He has set himself up as a hero and role model for many males, resulting in broken marriages and unhappy men and women throughout the nation. He has deceived many a woman into believing that her physical beauty is what matters most, and that having a man’s attention to her body is the equivalent of having a man who loves her. While amassing millions, he has used those millions for the betterment of no one. He has joined the ranks of hedonists throughout the centuries, from the worship of Dionysius, Baal, Aphrodite and many more. And most of all, he reminds me of the man described in Mark 8, who amasses great wealth in a self-serving fashion, about whom is remarked, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”
I am also reminded of King Jehoram described in 2 Chronicles 21, of whom it was said at his death that “he departed at no one’s regret.” I suspect that, if the Mr. Hefner could be seen at this time, he would be found to be like the man described in the parable in Luke 18, longing to warn people of the eternal danger they face if they follow in his footsteps.
The suffering of hurricane victims in Puerto Rico, Houston and Florida, that is news. The threat of nuclear war incited by North Korea and then further inflamed by responses of President Trump, that is news. Earthquakes in Mexico, wildfires out west, terrorist attacks in Europe, that is news. The death of Hugh Hefner, that isn’t news. It is the pathetic end of a pathetic man’s life and the end of his depraved influence in our society. We should pray that those who have been deceived by his warped set of values will come to their senses before it is too late for them and they, too, enter eternity oblivious to their Creator.
p.s. I encourage you to read a thought provoking op ed in the New York Times, pointed out to me by a friend. You can find it at https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/09/30/opinion/hugh-hefner.html?referer=https://t.co/KwpUVziB9H
Wednesday, August 30, 2017
The hurricane in Texas, and now Louisiana, has wreaked havoc with torrential, recordbreaking rains, out of control flooding, dramatic rescues and tragic deaths. I especially feel for those individuals who have already fled their homes years ago when Katrina’s devastation was upon them and resettled in Houston as a “safer place,” only to be reliving the nightmare now. Sadly, these kinds of natural disasters occur around the world in a variety of ways year after year, and suffering is not unique to Harvey’s victims.
In the midst of it, Joel Osteen has come under attack from lots of directions with the charge that when asked to open his church as a shelter for those needing refuge, the request is said to have been denied. I have read a portion of a statement officially issued by the church that indicates they have been purchasing and placing mattresses in the building, and that they plan to open it as a refuge once the other shelters are full.
I find that statement rather interesting, in that the church does not see the need to be among the first to respond to those in need and suffering, but as a refuge of last resort. I don’t have direct knowledge of any of the charges and controversy, just the bits and pieces I have picked up here and there, but it doesn’t sound good, does it?
It certainly does not sound like the way Jesus responded to those in need, nor how teaches his followers to respond…but I also acknowledge that there could be more to the story than I know. In fact, I have read of an interview that he gave indicating that there is another side to it all, and that they have been working with the city since the beginning. I don’t intend to jump in and rush to judgment with limited information (which seems to happen a LOT on the internet, it seems to me).Since that is not the bandwagon I plan to jump on with this blog, I will leave that investigation to others, while I pursue some lessons that could be relevant for all of us instead. Don’t misunderstand and assume that it means I approve of the actions that have been claimed against him…I am simply choosing to address a different concern.
I want to focus on a different aspect of this whole discussion.
Have you noticed how much attention Osteen is getting from the secular media and community is all of this? News sources that would never give the time of day to the various ministries his church does or the messages Osteen brings on a regular basis (and I’m not saying I agree with everything the man teaches…frankly, I don’t spend the time on his ministry to even find out). But now, all of a sudden, he is the major focus of attention by people from every walk of life! Why?
I think there are several reasons. First, there are people around who despise anything Christian, and like vultures, just wait, watching for any error on the part of any Christian leader so that they can swoop and a pronounce judgment, point out hypocrisy and declare a foul. These individuals believe that finding fault with fallible Christian people somehow disproves the validity of the Christian faith.
That, of course, actually demonstrates how little they really understand of the teachings of the Christian faith, because the very core teaching of Christianity is that we are fallible, desperately in need of forgiveness and grace, which is why Jesus died on the cross in the first place. Committing one’s life to Christ doesn’t mean we no longer fail and make poor choices, it means we are trying to learn a better way, and that we acknowledge our failings and need for forgiveness.
This vulture type mentality exists not only on a national level, but on a local level as well. There are individuals in every community who delight in pointing out the faults of the church and seek to undermine its ministries. There are, sadly, also individuals in every congregation who think their calling is to find fault with their pastors and church leaders, and spend their time watching and waiting, when they would better be served by spending some time before a mirror, taking careful stock of their own shortcomings.
The second thing I want to point out is the underlying assumption that the church and Christians are SUPPOSED to be helping those in need.
Despite all the maligning Christians have experienced in our secular and often hostile culture in recent years, the message has still gotten through that the church is a place (at least in theory) where people in need can find help and individuals who care. I have experienced this personally as a pastor, when time and time again, individuals in a community who never step foot inside a church for worship, do not hesitate to turn to the church when they need help with utilities or food; the assumption is that Christians are people who care about the needs of others.
So when people in your church get discouraged because they think the message isn’t getting through, consider that more may be getting through than you realize.
One doesn’t hear the media raising any stink about whether scientologists, Mormons or Muslims are doing anything to help down in Texas. It is Christians who have historically been known as individuals who care about and seek to minister to those in need. Perhaps the greatest example in recent years would have been Mother Teresa caring for the lowest of the low in Calcutta. It is the witness of Christians around the globe and throughout history. Hospitals and colleges exist because Christians cared about the sick and the illiterate, not just their own people. I visited a poverty stricken country some years ago with a missionary friend of mine, and as we drove, motorcycled and then finally hiked back into the back areas of the country, my friend commented that nobody else cares about these people, that even their own government doesn’t go back to help them. Once there, I saw schools being built, nutrition and job skills being taught, and new Christians seeking to learn what it means to follow Jesus in their context.
The final, and main point I want to raise is this: people are watching.
If you claim to be a Christian, whether you realize it or not, people are observing your life to see if what you say you believe matches up with how you live your life. And, as Joel Osteen and his church in Texas are rapidly discovering, actions (or inaction) speaks far louder than words. Our changed lives, the good deeds are the outward evidence and manifestation of the work God has done within our hearts. If they are non-existent, or counter to the way Jesus lived and taught, then that should serve as a warning sign causing us to examine whether or not we really have committed our lives to Christ, and what it means to you that you have done so. But if your life is reflecting well the character of Christ, you are silently teaching people what it means to be a Christian, and when the day comes they need help, or want to know more, they will know that they can turn to you because your faith is genuine. Perhaps that is the real reason for the outcry against Osteen and his church: people are searching for faith that is genuine, and are disenchanted by the disappointment of times when the evidence of individual lives says otherwise.
So if it was you the media was scrutinizing and judging, what would be their declaration based on your life?
Remember that old saying: If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
Are you first on the scene to help people in need, or have you become a refuge of last resort, too?
In a day of mixed messages, the world is hungry for genuine, meaningful, life-changing, humble faith. I hope they can find it in YOU! (and me!!)
Sunday, August 27, 2017
Living between two towns while making a long distance move has been difficult, trying, frustrating and sometimes very tedious. Half of our possessions are in one town, the other half in another, and for months, the same was true of the two of us. Now that Nola and I are together in our new town, we keep the roads between busy with our share of travels, finishing up home projects, packing, and bringing items with us as we wait for the completion of the remodeling project in our new home, and in preparation for putting our other home on the market. One day, while we were at the new home, the one we are moving from was burglarized and we had some items stolen, including a few family heirlooms.
It appears to me that the individuals were drug users, looking for quick cash or medicines they could use, based on the kinds of things they took, the areas they searched and the things they left behind. I suspect they were very disappointed thieves, since much of the kind of things of interest to them were no longer there--prescriptions, coins or cash, jewelry, precious metal type things…you get the idea.
My wife and I were appalled and troubled by the meticulous way the thieves had gone through so much of the things in the house, opening boxes packed for moving and leaving the contents strewn on the floor, open drawers and doors with the contents spilled out around, and general evidence of hours spent rummaging through things. They did get away with some things of value, but not nearly what I suspect they were hoping to find.
In the midst of our working on inventory for police and insurance, I mentioned to my wife that though this was clearly a troubling event, I did not experience it to be the same degree of trauma as divorce.
Because the individuals, I assume strangers, doing this were troubled folks with an indifferent disregard for others people in their self-serving search for cash for drugs (assuming I am correct). In contrast, the devastation of divorce was the betrayal by someone known, once loved and trusted, and the loss was not merely material goods, but the dreams and hopes for future plans, as well as an intact home and marriage, along with a dozen other intangible things that gnawed at my soul through that awful experience. (I realize that for some of my readers, their need to get out of an abusive marriage will mean that their experience of divorce is far different.)
Well, I don’t want to belabor it all, but decided I would like to share with you, my readers, something I shared with my congregation at church today. As I was wandering around the house, taking photographs, reboxing items and searching through piles, I found my mind wandering to a story I recalled about an earlier believer who had once been robbed. I thought it was Menno Simons, founder of the Mennonites, but his story was about when some people were destroying his house. Since I did not have internet at the old home, a friend searched for me, and found the story and quote much as I remembered it, but that it was Matthew Henry instead. My friend sent it to me in the following format:
Many years ago, Matthew Henry, a well-known Bible scholar, was once robbed of his wallet. Knowing that it was his duty to give thanks in everything, he meditated on this incident and recorded in his diary the following:
Let me be thankful, first, because he never robbed me before; second, because although he took my purse, he did not take my life; third, because although he took all I possessed, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.
Matthew Henry (1662-1714)
English Non-conformist Bible commentator
English Non-conformist Bible commentator
While working on the house, I found myself thinking about other things to be thankful for, most of which I shared this morning in worship. I thought you might find it helpful in some way if I shared those thoughts with you as well.
I am thankful that I had friends and relatives near the old house who saw the damage and were able to help secure the house until I got there.
I am thankful that it did not happen during one of the times my wife was at the house by herself.
I am thankful that neither of us suffered any physical harm.
I am thankful that, although the house was ransacked and rummaged, it was not destructively vandalized.
I am thankful that I have never been in a situation where I felt so desperate that I would consider committing such a crime myself.
I am thankful that I have never experienced the slavery of drugs that would turn a person into such a desperate, self-centered and thoughtless person.
Having just helped serve a breakfast at a nearby homeless shelter, I am thankful that I even have a house and possession that COULD be vandalized or stolen, for many do not.
I am thankful that, although some meaningful things were taken, some of the more sentimental items I have (which are virtually worthless to anyone but me) were not taken or harmed.
I am thankful that I live in a place and time where there is insurance available against such losses, so that the financial loss is mainly in the form of the inevitable deductibles (though, I suppose, some things will be overlooked as we try to discern what was taken).
And I also prayed for the individuals who took the items, because as I wandered around, I saw many scriptures posted around, many symbols of faith, many book titles that beckon toward God, including a communion poster that says, “Jesus of Nazareth requests your presence at a supper to be given in his honor,” which was near the window through which they entered the house. Who knows whether one of those messages that they encountered over and again will be the very instrument that one day works into their hearts and souls to lead them to repentance and a personal relationship with Christ, resulting in their acceptance into heaven when they die.
As I recall learning during my divorce, some things in life are more important than others, and really, the things we surround ourselves with are really “just stuff,” not the essence of what matters in life.
Finally, I would especially add, as I watch the news in the last few days, I find myself having much to be thankful for when I see the devastation so many in Texas are experience from the fury of Hurricane Harvey. Please join me in prayer for all of Texas, the victims and those that are suffering losses in this time. In comparison, my wife and I are richly blessed, and have little to complain about.
Sunday, August 20, 2017
So people are all excited around here, because tomorrow is the date of a total eclipse of the sun. It’s supposed to happen around noon, and is said to be a pretty rare phenomenon, because the eclipse will be seen from one side of the United States to the other.
I remember watching a significant solar eclipse back when, making a little hole in some cardboard to be able to view it appropriately. Now they are selling or giving away special glasses. I haven’t decided about my own participation yet, but the image of an eclipse got me to thinking.
There are ways in which the eclipse is useful as a parallel to the experience of divorce.
Just as one can see the gradual darkening of the sun from one edge to the other, so in divorce, one experiences darkness encroaching upon the brightness that was marital love, until darkness is all that is left and there seems to be no light shining at all. For most divorcing folks, the darkest days of divorce come through the court battles and the lonely times in the aftermath. During that time, one wonders whether the sun will ever shine again. But then, gradually, there come rays of hope, the darkness begins to fade and one moves into a new chapter of life as the sun starts shining again and life resumes with fresh brightness on the other side.
This may seem a rather lame comparison, but if you are the one who is in the darkest `moments, it can be some encouragement to know there is hope of the sun shining again and life moving forward into something new and fresh. The awareness that the time of pain, loss and loneliness is only temporary makes the experience more manageable, more endurable, and a little less threatening.
When one experiences even the tiniest ray of hope in the midst of those dark days, it becomes a symbol of more to come, or the promise that brighter days are on their way. That is a big deal, when one is in the midst of despair, and has a hard time believing that things will ever get better.
Which brings me to you, my reader. Perhaps you are the one in the eclipse of divorce, and need to be encouraged to remember that, just as the sunshine will return tomorrow, life’s sun will come again to your life when these darks days pass. If, on the other hand, you are a person whose life is not caught up in divorce, I encourage you to realize that YOU could be one of the rays of hope for someone struggling in the dark days of divorce. A kind word. A simple greeting card. An encouraging phone call. An invitation to dinner or night out at the movies. Maybe even a simple hug accompanied by the promise of prayer. Those first rays of light don’t have to be anything spectacular. Just enough to foretell better days ahead.
All around us are people whose lives are stuck in one kind of an eclipse or another. It is a great thing to get to be the one who brings a bit of sunlight into a despairing heart. Look for your opportunity this week, the week of eclipse!