The True Country

September 25

Dear Rock Creek Women of Hope,

I am in upstate New York as I write this, enjoying a long weekend with old college friends. We have been hiking and laughing and catching up for three days now in a part of the country I’ve never seen before, and yet reminds me of the rugged beauty of our beloved Lookout Mountain where we all first met at Covenant College.

C0D03728-8CBC-487C-BB99-235735380A3FButtermilk Falls State Park

I am grateful to God tonight for his goodness in connecting our hearts way back when, and for continuing the connection through all the years since. And even more, for providing such rich relationships in my daily life, as I think about you dear women of Rock Creek who will gather tomorrow morning and Thursday night to study the word and fellowship together.

The natural beauty of this place is stunning. We have hiked up waterfalls on native stone steps, with moss covered, fern-dotted banks on one side, deep caverns on the other, water cascading from every possible nook and cranny.  Think Bilbo’s beloved shire. God’s presence is overwhelming to me tonight as I reflect on the beauty of this terrain, the sweet fellowship I have enjoyed my whole life, and the intimacy I have with God himself because of Jesus. All this and heaven, too?

Yes.

2F8E8A77-F75F-45CD-A5AA-F7B809965D5E

And my heart is lifted to praise.

Life is unpredictably golden, like it has been here for me these last three days. But it can be predictably dull in between times. What keeps me going when the golden days get swallowed up in gray and grind? Isn’t it the hope that there are more golden days ahead? And isn’t it assured—even guaranteed—to me because Jesus not only died for me, but was raised to life?

We don’t have a pie-in-the-sky hope, a wishful thinking kind of hope. We have a living hope, a hope secured by God’s own death and resurrection, a hope that is “imperishable, undefiled, and unfading,” reserved for us in heaven one day. But one that is available to us now, too, that we visit as often as we like through prayer, fellowship, and praise.

The golden goodness of God is always a reality, even when all I see and feel is gray. It’s there, just above the clouds, and he invites me to break through the gloom and grab hold of it by faith, because my hope is certain. It doesn’t depend on my faith in it, flimsy as it is. It’s dependent on God himself and his word to me, that does not change.

As beautiful as this earth is and as rich as my time here can be, “Lord, give me the peace that comes from knowing that nothing in this world is truly home. Give me the strength that comes from visiting my future home when I know your love and presence in prayer. I praise you that you will bring us someday to the true country we have been looking for all our lives. Amen.”  Tim and Kathy Keller, Songs of Jesus. 

Gray and gloom aren’t surprising in this life, but they don’t have to be dealt with alone.  That’s why we’re meeting weekly, to read and think, share and help, hope and pray.  Please come be a part.  Whether you’re needing a good word or giving one, we are all better together.

O’ Lord by Lauren Daigle helped me push through some gloom of my own last week.  Hope it’s helpful to you, too.

Eve, for the Team

Quotation is from 1 Peter 1:4, ESV

(This is one of a series of emails written to the women’s Bible study group at Rock Creek Fellowship in 2017.)

O’Lord
Though times it seems
Like I’m coming undone
This walk can often feel lonely
No matter what until this race is won
I will stand my ground where hope can be found
I will stand my ground where hope can be found
Oh, O’Lord O’Lord I know You hear my cry
Your love is lifting me above all the lies
No matter what I face this I know in time
You’ll take all that is wrong and make it right
You’ll take all that is wrong and make it right
Your strength is found
At the end of my rope
Your grace it reaches to the hurting
Still through the tears and the questioning why
I will stand my ground where hope can be found
I will stand my ground where hope can be found
Oh, O’Lord O’Lord I know You hear my cry
Your love is lifting me above all the lies
No matter what I face This I know in time
You’ll take all that is wrong and make it right
You’ll take all that is wrong and make it right
(Right, so right)
Make it right
(Right, so right)
Make it right, right
I will stand my ground
I will stand my ground
I will stand my ground where hope can be found
I will stand my ground where hope can be found
Oh! O’Lord O’Lord I know You hear my cry
Your love is lifting me above all the lies
No matter what I face this I know in time
You’ll take all that is wrong and make it right (take all what is wrong)
You’ll take all that is wrong and make it right
(Right, so right)
Make it right
(Right, so right)
Make it right, right
Songwriters: Joe Williams / Paul Mabury
O’Lord lyrics © Essential Music Publishing

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