July 17, 2020
Author: Andrea Maher
Have you ever had the earth suddenly shift beneath your feet? Like in one- moment’s time, life as you knew it is tragically upended. It’s a helpless, frightening feeling. I think the pandemic has given us all a foretaste of what it feels like to be inherently unsettled, as well as an experience on how quickly things can change and veer out of control.
And yet there’s something telling in watching someone who is operating under a whirlwind of uncertainty—be it a lost job, serious medical news, a broken marriage, wayward child, you fill in the blank… It’s how we act under extreme pressure that naturally grabs people’s attention and speaks loudly to those around us. We are human beings, and curious eyes —known and unknown – will become fixated on observing how we will react. That explains why there is so much rubbernecking that goes on when we pass an accident on a highway. Questions immediately flood our minds: Who caused it? Are they hurt? What will happen now?
We are wired to wonder, ask questions, and most importantly, we inherently desire to see glimpses of hope in the midst of the tragedy. I believe it is our own fragile humanity that understands that one day it could be us standing in those same shoes on a dark unplanned path and we want to know that we will make it through.
I’ll never forget the time I was approached by a woman who attended a class I took at the gym. She asked me if we could meet after class to talk. She told me she was shocked to find out that I was “the mom” of the local rising soccer star that was just sent to prison for his at- fault drunk driving accident that took the life of an innocent man. She said I appeared so peaceful and friendly and that she couldn’t imagine how I was doing this with such inner pain. Her watchful eyes were on me and I never knew it. She asked, “How are you really doing it?”
This gave me an opportunity to share that I wasn’t doing it, but that the God who I had faith in was sustaining me and the sole source of my hope. I told her that I was a Christian. I emphasized that what she saw in me had nothing to do with me or will power—but had everything to do with my relationship with Jesus Christ my Savior. As our conversation ensued day by day, I explained to her how long before I had troubles, I gave my life to Christ and began to study His Word, which speaks life and hope into my heart. I got to share with her more about the book that I love. She eventually began attending a Bible study I was teaching. My managing my sorrow –through hope– was the means of me introducing her to the reason for my hope—Jesus Christ.
One of my favorite go-to books in the Bible is the book of Psalms written by King David. Many can relate to him because he is writing his thoughts out in the middle of betrayal, abandonment and even while being on the run for his very life. It is through his distress that we see that David’s default mechanism was falling back on his profound faith in God. These are just a few of the words he pens to himself and speaks to those of us who find ourselves in the same position today. These are words of hope: “Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us” (Psalm 62:8). Like David, I can testify that the foggier my circumstances became in my own life, the clearer I was able to see God. He became my safe space.
I love that David’s words are real and raw and written in the heat of the moment. They give me hope and hope is a powerful thing. Billy Graham said, “What oxygen is to the lungs, hope is to our survival in the world.” I believe our world needs to see hope in action and I believe as women we possess the emotional temperature to offer it.
There is a “Rule of Threes” from Air Force survival training courses, it says: “You can last three weeks without food, three days without water, three hours without shelter in extreme conditions, and three minutes without air. But you can’t make it three seconds without hope.”
Women let’s arise and begin to offer hope to a world that is wrapped in fear and uncertainty. We know that nothing touches us without the sovereign hand of a loving God permitting our circumstances. That alone should be just enough hope for today.
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Andrea Maher is the former editor-in-chief of PARENT ABC’S a monthly magazine. Her writings have been featured in local newspapers and parenting publications nationwide. She is the author of SLAMMED: Overcoming Tragedy in the Wave of Grief, and had her book selected as FAITHBOX book of the month.
She is the executive director of the Be Still Foundation, a ministry that disseminates hope and encouragement to families in crisis. She has been married to her husband John for 43 years and has four children, and 8 grandchildren.