Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hope in the Shadowlands

Discouragers go about among men, and, by their gloomy, pessimistic words—they make life incalculably harder for them. They put out the lamps of cheer and hope which shine in men’s homes. They quench the very stars that burn in the sky above men’s heads. They take the gladness out of hearts. They see only the dark shadows of life, never the sunshine; and they prate wherever they go of gloom and doom. They never bring us a message of cheer. We are never stronger, braver, happier, or truer—for meeting them. –J.R. Miller, 1896

If you want to be Mr. Discourager you have plenty of material to work with.

We do, after all, live in what C.S. Lewis dubbed the Shadowlands. It is here that “the sun is always shining somewhere else. Round a bend in the road. Over the bough of a hill.” When you live in the Shadowlands it doesn’t take a work of grace to point out all of the dark shadows.

Grace sees beyond the shadow. Grace gives birth to hope. And hope sets its eye on the sunshine that is just over the horizon.

I want to be the guy that tells everyone, with a gleam in my eye, “Take heart, the sun is rising!” What value is there in pointing out dark shadows in a land of shadows? Nobody needs that preacher. What men and women need—what my own soul needs—is to be captivated by the hope of another land where the sun is always shining.

Take heart friends…we’ve only seen the cover and the title page. Some day we will “at last [begin] Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read:  which goes on forever:  in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

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