Monday Musings: Losing Hope In Humanity

This week I bring you a Scripture, a story, a song, and a reflection.

The Scripture:
Romans 5:3-8  “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.  For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

The Story:
Recently, after several weeks of my personal life and LOVEboldly work kicking me around, I was bruised.  I had been watching one relationship after another, even in my own life, suffer the consequences of division, distrust, suspicion, betrayal, violation, and flat-out cruelty.  I had been wondering where God was in all of this mess.  I was feeling cynical and angry and worn out.  I did what every normal person would do in this situation.  I ran away to a cabin in the woods for the weekend.  I slept, I journaled, I stayed up late, I prayed, I cried, I took a bath, I drank wine, I lit candles, I cooked, I sat in a rocking chair, I made myself a cup of tea, and I turned off my phone.

On my way home I called my sister.  I needed someone to restore my hope in humanity and if anyone can do that, it’s my sister.  This is the woman who made me the playlists which carried me through my divorce.  There was one for every moment and mood and I listened to them nonstop in my grief.  These playlists rocked me to sleep at night and awoke me in the morning – “Angry Music”, “Happy Music”, “Christian Music”, “Just Dang Good Music”, and “Sad Music”.  I laughed and cried to it and prayed countless prayers in the presence of those tunes.  Most of all, I got my voice, my spunk, and my life back.

“I need some music”, I told her that day on my way home from the cabin.  “I need to remember my purpose.”  “I’m on it.” She said and within the week I had “Do Good Tunes”, a strangely perfect hodgepodge of hope-inducing, nostalgic, determined, sassy, inspiring music.  It’s glorious.  The tunes give me strength, but the real impact is felt because they’re a gift of love from my sister, and I know she is cheering me on through them.

The Song:
Driving home from church yesterday, windows down, the late arriving spring beauty flying through my hair, I flipped on “Do Good Tunes.”  Bob Dylan’s voice filled my car and I found my awful and awe-filled recent wonderings in his words:

“Blowin’ In The Wind”
How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they’re forever banned?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

Yes, how many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea?
Yes, how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn’t see?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

Yes, how many times must a man look up
Before he can really see the sky?
Yes, how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

The Reflection:
I don’t know how many roads, seas, cannon balls, years, times, ears, and deaths are needed to set things right in our world.  Sometimes the cause may seem hopeless.  Perhaps yours does.  Perhaps it feels as if the answer is just blowing in the wind, always just outside of your reach.  But we will not lose hope.  We will not.  Every step forward is a step forward.

He will give us the endurance we need.  It will produce in us character and hope, a hope not rooted in our circumstances resolving as we wish but, better, in an assurance that He has given of himself so that the ways we hurt one another in this world will be finally resolved in His love and salvation.

Thanks be to God.
This is bold love – that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Let us never lose hope in this sort of love – it is everlasting.

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