holding on to hope

As I read news broadcasts and see photos and videos about the flooding in Queensland, I’m reminded both that life is precious and this world is a broken place. It is hard to comprehend that much water, that much devastation to lives and families, happening in my own country.

And today I have also been thinking of Haiti. It’s one year today since the earthquake. Though there are stories of hope and survival which have come out of this very poor country at its darkest hour, I have read news reports today that life remains dangerous, many people are still suffering and homeless and rebuilding is slow.

I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be there. But a few months ago we met Joel and Rachel when they were looking for a church and thought ours in Redfern might be local to where they hoped to live. This amazing couple have helped us get some kind of idea.  Joel and Rachel were working as missionaries in Haiti and were two of only a few people in their building to survive the quake. They lost almost everything except their lives. They left Haiti soon after the quake for medical treatment etc and sensed God moving them on from there – ultimately to Sydney. Today Joel posted a song on their blog which paints a picture of what it was like.

As we have shared meals and life together over the past few months, I have gotten this deep sense that God has purposed this friendship. Joel and Adam share a unique passion for creative expression and Rachel and I share a heart for justice for the poor and oppressed.

I’m so thankful that God was watching over them and that we have the honour of being their friends. In their courage, passion, wisdom and strength, they inspire me. I’m praying for them today – how hard to reflect on something so harrowing and life-changing one year on.

In times like these – as floods and earthquakes devastate the physical world and human life – that I am struck again by what really matters in life. For me that’s people – family, friends, the lost, the poor and oppressed.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21)

I want to hold on to hope because I know Jesus will be ultimately victorious and that a day will come when the turmoil of this earth will end.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. (Hebrews 6:19)

hanging out with rachel and joel in Balmain

 

 

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a book review of sorts – the alchemist, by paulo coelho

To realise one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation. – The Alchemist

Two months ago while doing some filing I found a post it note I had written some time in the last few years which said…

The Alchemist

Paulo Coelho

I researched the book and ordered it online straightaway…and then waited…

I’ve now finished the story. After every reading I was left with such a “yummy” feeling inside – so much so that I may have ‘drawn out’ the final 20 pages or so cos I just didn’t want it to end. This book is good for the soul.

The story is about a boy who leaves his ordinary life behind, listens to the desires of his heart and sets out on a journey to find the treasure. Along the way he meets some interesting characters, all of whom teach him something vital to the pursuit of his dream. He faces obstacles too. His money is stolen, he is beaten and held hostage in the middle of the desert. He truly has to fight for the desires of his heart.

I was struck by the way Coelho weaves in stories and lessons from the bible about faith and where we place value in our lives – “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

This story challenges both people from western and eastern cultures to be countercultural and live from the heart. It is also a reminder that there is learning to be had in the paths we walk towards the realisation of our dream and in the journeys life takes us on.

“In his pursuit of the dream, he was being constantly subjected to test of his persistence and courage. So he could not be hasty nor impatient . If he pushed forward impulsively he would fail to see the signs left by God along his path.”

So if you do read this book one day, enjoy the journey! Hope its yummy for you too.