Gerry and I kept our 3-year-old and 5-year-old grandkids for 10 days while their parents went to Hawaii in January. While I was making dinner one evening, Papa let them watch the movie Charlotte’s Web.
In the movie, a little pig named Wilbur is saved from slaughter by an intelligent spider named Charlotte. Charlotte becomes the mother-figure Wilbur doesn’t have so when she dies, the little pig is very sad because once again, he is all alone. However, when Charlotte’s eggs begin to hatch, Wilbur is filled with renewed hope that he won’t be alone because now he has dozens of new friends.
Over the next few days I noticed that 5-year-old Jasmine seemed troubled. She started saying things to me like, “I don’t want to grow up and die. I don’t want mommy to die. I don’t want you to die, Gram.”
Since I hadn’t watched the movie with her, it took me a while to figure out where these unsettling sentiments were coming from.
After about the third time she said it, I understood the connection and I told her, “Jasmine, if you believe in Jesus, when you die, He will take you to heaven to live with Him forever.”
“You mean after we die He’ll make us alive again?!” she said, looking at me with wide-eyed wonder.
“Yes, and you’ll live with Him forever in heaven.” I said.
“Eli! Eli! I have to teach you sumfing about Jesus!” Jasmine blurted, running up to him, taking his hand and looking right into his sleepy little face. “When you grow up and die, God will make you alive again and take you to heaven to live with him forever! And you’ll never be alone again!”
I stood there in awe. How easy it is for us jaded adults to forget the hope of God’s glorious promise. He will never leave us nor forsake us – not now, not ever.
In Prov 29 Solomon wisely says: without hope, the people perish.
- Coupes divorce when one of them runs out of hope that the relationship will improve.
- People quit their jobs when they lose hope that the situation will ever get better.
- Believers drift into spiritual dryness when they lose hope that they will ever hear from God again.
- Desperate people take their own lives when they have no hope that life will ever be worth the pain.
I don’t know what storm you are going through right now in your personal life, but I know this, DON’T QUIT ROWING. Even if it feels like you don’t have one more paddle dip in you. Keep rowing. Even if your hands are covered with blisters that are broken and bleeding, don’t quit rowing. Bear down, push through the pain, and keep rowing.
But do one more thing: As you row, be on the lookout because Jesus is headed your way across the stormy sea and you might not recognize Him right away — the disciples didn’t either (see Matt 14:26) so you need to be paying attention. And I guarantee you that when He comes, He may or may not calm your storm but He will calm you.
He will give you peace and the hope you need to keep following Him one yes at a time.