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Hope Beyond Storms of Life

Is there hope for your frustrations over past relationships, dreams that didn?t materialize, or hidden burdens you only know about?

A story is told of a man who had known and served God. He knew that in order to make it to heaven, he had to carry his cross (challenges of life). However, it seemed that no matter how hard he tried he couldn?t avoid adversities. He eventually went to Saint Peter and said he wanted to exchange his cross. St. Peter discouraged him, assuring him that whatever burden he had, only he could bear.

This unrelenting man pestered St. Peter until he was taken to a huge warehouse of crosses where he laid his down. He searched for a cross that he could bear for hours. Some looked small, but when he tried to lift them, he was astonished by their weight. The glittering crosses also attracted him only to disappoint him with their unbearable odor.

Finally he come to a cross that wasn?t good looking or too heavy or smelly. He turned to St. Peter and said ?I want this cross.? Without mincing words, St. Peter said, ?No, you can not, under any circumstance be allowed to take that cross.? Bewildered, the man meekly asked, ?Why?? only to be told, ?That?s the one you brought? by St. Peter calmly but firmly.

There are times when you bury yourself underneath your bed?s covers hoping to rest and let go of the events of the day?a day you wish never occurred and you want to erase from your memory. You hope to wake up into a new welcoming world, more promising emotionally, physically and spiritually. Your hopes are, however, thwarted when your eyes open to a thick darkness that that has to wait till daybreak.

You toss in your bed as you wait for this day you now know will be long. You are not rested. Your thoughts of yesterday are heavily pounding on you. Your soul is wounded.

In your solitude of suffering, life seems to go on for others. They sleep, eat and go shopping after work. They even have the courage to tell you how life has been good to them. Their jobs, children?s performances, new automobiles or homes are some of their quantifiable evidence of blessed lives. No one, according to you, knows your troubles.

I marvel at what David had gone through to meditate and come up with in Psalm 23. Was he running from his enemies? As a shepherd in his youth, he knew the tender care of a strong shepherd. The green pastures he talks about maybe had bushes that harbored fierce wild animals just like our lives, beautiful but with storms that make us wonder where is God, the supposedly caring shepherd, when we are hurting?

Are the still waters David refers to the lives of those around us that become our reference point? They bring the assurance that all is not gone. And how inspiring to know that with all that is happening, God is able to heal and restore a wounded soul!

Then there is marvelous affirmation that even when walking, ?through the valley of the shadow of death,? fear of evil is not an option because God is with you at that moment you are most vulnerable.

There are situations in life when I have no humanly possible explanation for how or why things turned the way they did. I just turned to the closing verse of Psalm 23 where David settles with a memorable conclusion, ?Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life?? This includes those days? ways when you feel like the cross you bear was not slated for you.

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