I wake up refreshed this morning. My husband and I were invited to a young adult retreat this weekend and were honored to have the opportunity to speak to a group of around 50 college students and young adults. The topic was hospitality, and we watched this topic modeled well for us by an Orthodox Parish that fed us amazing meals, gave us comfortable beds to sleep on, and offered up lavish generosity in every area. The entire weekend was a gift that nourished our souls.
The timing could not have been better. In the United States we are ending a divisive and angry political campaign. There has been an absence of character and virtue all around and it has had a domino effect across relationships, both close and distant.
As I walk to the subway, my friend from El Salvador rushes to catch up with me. We haven’t seen each other for some time. We hug and begin catching up on life. She has been to El Salvador, I have had a grandchild. Before long, she asks me if I have voted yet. I shake my head no, but tomorrow I will. She shakes her head as well and we sigh at the same time. She will vote tomorrow as well. She whispers to me that she doesn’t like either candidate, looking around furtively, not willing to offend. I sigh and nod. We wave goodbye to each other two stops later.
I walk to my office slowly as the city awakes, thinking about the weekend, about my friend, and about how there are still 10,000 reasons to get up every morning and trust God.
Every day, people scan the headlines, searching for their daily briefing. What is going on in the world? What do they need to know? What will affect them? But the headlines only tell a portion of the story. Headlines may tell us of Trump effigys being burned in England; of classified emails leaked; of millions of Afghan refugees going back to Afghanistan, uncertain of their future; of U.S backed militias helping to drive out ISIS in Syria — but it doesn’t tell the whole story. It doesn’t tell of the many who give sacrificially to the poor, who tirelessly work toward justice, who pray daily for peace.
Above and beyond any headline is the story that God is telling.
And the story God is telling is not about a country. It is not the story of red and blue, of donkey and elephant, of Clinton and Trump. It is not an American story. The story God is telling is a worldwide story of people and redemption. The story God is telling is far bigger than elections and opinions – it is a story that goes from Pakistan to Tasmania; from Iraq to Germany; from Russia to the Maldives; from Senegal to the United States; from North Pole to South Pole and all places between.
I will only ever know a fraction of the story this side of Heaven. But I know enough to not despair. I know enough to know that God has not left us to drown in our own mess. Instead, he reaches through time and eternity to reorient us to his reality. He reminds us in countless ways that we are beloved; he convicts us that many who we despise are also beloved.
So I walk slowly, but purposefully. To my right, two homeless people are sleeping in the shelter of a doorway, heads covered with grey blankets to keep off the cold. To my left I see the glimpses of a new day dawning and I know there are still 10,000 reasons to trust a God whose definable stamp is on all creation.
The sun comes up
It’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass
And whatever lies before me
Let me be singing
When the evening comes*
4 thoughts on “Still 10,000 Reasons”
This is such good stuff Marilyn! Thank you.
Thanks for bringing well needed perspective at this time of political tumult!
I’ve read a lot of articles you have posted, haven’t seen any that shows about the tragedy in around 1944 what many Jews went through, and the lack of understanding where was God, but God was there, look at all the Jews that were helped by many Christianas, my heart has been touched by the never give up attitude that the very many Jews have, I for one have had that in my life, I was raised Jewish, Orthodox, married at the age of 21 to a Christian, she never told me about Jesus, she prayed for me and told Jesus about me, in April of 1978 Jesus spoke to my heart and said He was God, changed my heart, I’m telling you all of this to say how much more Jewish I feel today more than I’ve ever felt, listening to the song Hatikvah, (the Hope) that I sang many times in my youth but never knew that song was Israel’s national anthem. Israel is deep in my heart as is the Messiah Jesus. I just today decided that I wanted to share this with you and your people, so inspired and thankful that I first googled you about the song (the Love of God some time ago. My wife and I will celebrate our 56 anniversary in February. God Bless You and your ministry
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Amen! Hope to hear more of the weekend and what you shared regarding hospitality. Your extensive travel to the middle east and living in Egypt you have known and experienced hospitality in its truest form.