On Finding Hope

“I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death, I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever- approaching thunder, which will destroy us too. I can feel the sufferings of millions, and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.”

Those words were found written in the diary of a young teenage girl by the name of Anne Frank. I have thought about her numerous times during this COVID 19 pandemic that is running rampant throughout our world. We have been strongly encouraged to remain at home during this time so as to protect our selves and to help slow the speed of this dreaded disease that has been taking the lives of people we know and many we don’t know.

I have thought about her because, she too, was confined not just to a home but in a secret annex of an old warehouse. Her fear was not from a pandemic virus but from being discovered by Nazi soldiers and being taken away to a Jewish concentration camp. Her diary ends abruptly in August of 1944 as that was when she and her family were discovered, and she was taken to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. The conditions there, as in all of the concentration camps, were horrible and she contracted typhus and died at the age of 15.

This morning I am doing what I usually do during this time of self- imposed confinement. I sit at my desk in my office and I will make phone calls, send and receive texts and emails, attend a few Zoom meetings, plan messages to be videoed, review the financial reports of the church, and most importantly pray and ask for God’s protection over those that I love, over the church, community and world.

Yet this morning I begin my day looking out my office window. I see the beautiful sunshine and I hear the birds greeting the day with their songs of life. My mind once again turns to a little teenage girl hiding from the cruelty and hatred that will eventually find her and take her to a place that will make her worst dreams a reality. I think about her and I think about her diary. How did she approach life being confined for two years to a small area inside an old warehouse?

“I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.”

“As long as this exists, this sunshine, and this cloudless sky, as long as I can enjoy it, how can I be sad?”

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens , nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be.”

Anne, thank you. I needed to hear that as there is a lot going on in our world right now. We are told that it is going to get worse, much worse, before it gets better. I think I will go outside, take

a walk with God, and breathe in the beauty of His creation and Anne, before I go, I just want to say one more thing to you. You wrote in your diary,

“I don’t want to have lived in vain like most people. I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I have never met. I want to go on living after my death.”

You have done that, and you do live on. We have never met but through you God has reminded me that no matter how dark things may seem in our world, the sun still shines, and the birds still sing, therefore how can I be sad? I look out my window again and I see hope clearly. It is shaped in the form of a wooden cross that stands tall in our outdoor worship center. Time for me to take a walk.

Because He First Loved Us,