2013 has been an interesting year. I’m not sure it’s incredibly all that different from years past but my awareness of its highs and lows has increased. There have been moments of shining brightness and moments of dark shadow. As time marches on, I’ve seen myself mature and grow in lots of things but at the same time, my questions seem to deepen and responses and emotions to the “unanswered” grow increasingly intense.
As I was writing recently in my journal, a phrase flowed onto the page…
“There is a small bright flicker of Hope, but surrounded by a long shadow of doubt, fear and perhaps reality…”
I stopped writing to contemplate its meaning. What do these words mean? Why had I written it? What is my soul fighting to work out?
There have been times this year, which have been emotionally intense. There have been knock out, take-your-breath-away moments. There have been times of sitting in a room of 2,000ppl feeling completely and utterly alone. Moments where expectations of what could have been or things that should have been have gone unmet. I have discovered that as time marches on that – that “hopeful FLAME”, when unmanned, unattended, and not fueled (by what is true, right, lovely, pure… Phil 4:8) starts to dwindle. Yes – life and circumstances have a way of trying to snuff out the fire, but there’s intentionality that must be, for the flame, the light, the flicker to remain! Life is hard. Circumstances and situations, often out-of-our control can smother and quench the flame and if we’re not careful, it’ll be gone, leaving only a wisp of smoke.
So what is the fire? What is the flame? What is the flicker (of hope) that needs tended to (for you)? I think we all have that one thing, that we keep holding onto, breathing life into or fanning the flicker, praying desperately that it will come to (or back to) life… We may not openly speak if it, but there’s something in you that longs to burn brightly! Maybe it’s the dream to be… The relationship to have… The friend who…. The job that… The finances to… The parent who needs… The, you fill in the blank………
What is it? Identifying the flicker is important but at the same time, figuring out what the “long shadow” that’s threatening to take over is just as important. I think for some of us it’s fear. It’s doubt. It’s length of time… It’s reality. It’s delay. It’s limitations. It’s not being willing to step forward into the unknown.
Bottom line – why do we allow the “small bright flicker of Hope, to be surrounded by a long shadow of doubt…” ?
For me, it’s control. It’s realizing that I am not the one in charge… so my flicker of HOPE is FAITH. It’s the belief that the One who actually sees the entire storyline will direct all the characters/plots/subplots and scenery to tell the most breathtaking story, unique to me.
The flicker of Hope…. tended. Fueled. Cared for — to create the most magnificent roaring flame!