Finding Hope When Your Life Is In Ruins: Daily Devotion April 21, 2016
I've been attending a seminar this week in Colorado, working on my speaking and presentation skills, among other things. When everything ended today I had just enough time to take a short drive into the Rocky Mountains before dark.
The drive took me west out of Loveland, Colorado and up into the mountains toward Estes Park in what is known as The Big Thompson Canyon. In July of 1976 a huge flash flood rushed down that canyon and killed 144 people in the worst disaster in Colorado history.
Nearly forty years ago, I remember driving with my family down a portion of the highway next to the river, and seeing all of destroyed homes, debris and washed out bridges and roads. It looked like a wasteland even almost a year after the disaster.
Today I marveled at all of the houses that have been built over the years on the very sites of some of the houses that washed away. When I was a kid, I never dreamed that I would one day drive that same highway and see things restored, looking as if nothing ever really happened there.
Sometimes catastrophic things happen to us in our lives that leave us feeling devastated and desolate. When we look around us at the ruins left after a divorce... or the loss of a loved one... or a tragedy that changes everything... or the empty room of a wayward child... or an empty bank account after financial hardship... it can seem in the moment like the ruins will never be rebuilt.
There is this amazing promise from the prophet Isaiah that was given to the people of Israel after they were forced to look at the ruins of their city, and the devastated and demolished Temple of Solomon. They had begun to believe that they would never return to their home, never be able to restore the Holy City or rebuild the Temple.
And the prophet speaks to them the words of God:
Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
Those of us who follow Jesus have a similar promise from him, spoken in the Gospel of John chapter 2. Jesus recalled the same feelings that the ancient people of Israel had felt, only he applied it to his mission and ministry when he was challenged by the religious elites of his day:
The [religious leaders] then said to Him, "What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?" 19Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." (John 2:19)
God has been and always will be in the resurrection business. Only God can take the ruins of our lives and restores them. Only God can breathe new life into our dry, broken bones. Only God can take what was left for dead and raise it to new life to his glory.
May you find hope and peace even amidst the ruins. May you live fully into the Resurrection life that God wants so desperately for you to live in the name of Jesus. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.