It occurred to me that many of my posts in the past have talked about change, uncertainty and turmoil both in my personal life and in the wider world situation. I wondered if this fact revealed an inner pessimistic nature which I hadn’t really been aware of. My conclusion is that, though I am generally quite an upbeat person, in honesty, I cannot pretend that everything in the garden is lovely, when it clearly is not.
When Christians do a “Photoshop job” on real life, they do themselves, their families and friends, and their faith a grave disservice. Themselves, because they have to maintain a mask in order to portray the perfect life they feel they should be living and the cost to their mental health is great. Their family and friends, because you cannot open up about your own issues if you feel that the person you want to confide in is “perfect.” The Christian faith, because a perfect, trouble-free, illness-free life is not found within the pages of the Bible. Look at any hero of the faith and you will find a life of struggle, mistakes and physical hardship.
Ruth, David, Moses, Abraham, Esther and the others are just like us, imperfect people living in an imperfect world. The thing which they had, and that we have too, is the love of God and his presence with them. They lived through their circumstances with hope, trusting that God’s plans and purposes would be revealed. Their trials honed their faith and sanded down their selfishness and ego, but only because of the hope they clung to. How easy would it have been for some of their stories to have ended in despair and defeat. The reason they are mentioned at all in the Bible is that they kept on keeping on, with hope as their anchor.
As I was thinking about this, a banner I painted with friends in my old church came to mind. (See above) It used photographic images of the earth as a starting point. On the left is a hurricane from above. On the right are pictures of greenhouse gases around our planet through the seasons. The cross is our hope, represented by a rainbow, in uncertain environmental times and our anchor in the storms of life.
The Bible says, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.It enters the inner sanctuary, behind the curtain.” Hebrews 6:19
Photos of the banner painting process. What fun we had!