We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God. (Hebrews 6:18-19, The Message).
For many of us, these past few weeks of worldwide pandemic have felt like a slow fall (of sorts) as our assumptions about the fundamentals of our daily life (from how we care for our families, to work, to how we connect with friends, to gathering in our faith communities, and so on) have all been crumbling down around us.
As we find ourselves navigating unchartered territories, especially those of us who provide spiritual care or pastoral leadership to others, we might find that we are grasping for answers or assurances that all too quickly are proven irrelevant or feel shallow.
Towards that end, I was recently reminded of something Henri Nouwen once wrote that has guided my spiritual journey time and time again: "Optimism and hope are radically different attitudes. Optimism is the expectation that things-the weather, human relationships, the economy, the political situation, and so on-will get better. Hope is the trust that God will fulfill God’s promises to us in a way that leads us to true freedom. The optimist speaks about concrete changes in the future. The person of hope lives in the moment with the knowledge and trust that all of life is in good hands."
As things shift on a daily basis right now, platitudes that offer little more than hollow optimism are not only unhelpful, they can be harmful to our hearts, minds, and souls as we wrestle with the very real challenges of what it will mean to rebuild our lives on the other side.
Maybe what we need more of right now is simple hope that reminds us and invites us to rest in the promise that that we are being held in "good hands" - God's hands.
Can you let that sink in for a moment? Second by second, breath by breath - all of life is being held in "good hands."
While that truth can certainly be a lifeline we can cling to right now, I think it's even more important to remember that even if/when we lose our grip and find ourselves falling into darkness or despair, God doesn't loosen God's grip on us. In other words, when our lives feel most fragile, God continues to hold onto us in the hands of Hope, Faith, and Love - catching the fragmented pieces of our lives and beginning the work of (re)creating something beautiful out of the wreckage.
Right now, that's a promise I need to be reminded of, again and again. And, I suspect I am not alone.
As our world continues to find its way forward in the midst of uncertainty and change, may we cling with hope to the "unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God," trusting that as we are reaching towards God, we are already being held in "Good Hands."