We are queuing up with other guests, most of them foreigners. We are at the lobby of Shangri-la Hotel and the marvellous Christmas decor just takes my breath away. I still can’t believe that my husband and I are finally here, taking time off alone after a long, long season of sickness and not being able to travel. But now, we’re checking in at the hotel where we had our honeymoon more than 13 years ago. The room is grand and glows golden: the silk fluffy bed cover, taffeta drapes that adorn tall windows, and the light from the bedside lamps. Next, we ride a rented RV. We are going to have a road trip. I sit quietly in the passenger’s seat drinking in my surroundings as we pass. I glance at my husband and gush, “I am so happy. I can’t believe that I’m finally traveling with you. I am really, really happy.”
Then I woke up and shivered uncontrollably as painful reality set in. It was all a dream.
At once depression enveloped me. The endless desiring and hungering were just too much to bear. To realize that, indeed, dreams, just futile dreams, are my reality, was just too painful.
I couldn’t shake off the cloud of sadness that was covering me. Sometimes, the old ailing, suffering life becomes just too tiresome and loathsome. Even the enduring hope that I always attach to it – sometimes it becomes threadbare, shabby.
I thought of my countrymen who had lost loved ones, many of them lost whole families, everything of the life they had known. I couldn’t imagine the grief they are going through and for a while, I saw my own sorrow as wrong or petty.
Even though I become discouraged at times and seem to not have the strength to persevere, the hope of glory that is promised me never loses its power, which is Christ in me. However ragged this hope becomes sometimes, it never leaves me. Just like the enduring power of the old, rugged cross, it holds me securely. Whatever happens, I have hope and glory awaits me. This is the reason I can still rejoice.
But how about those who had perished in sudden destructions like killer typhoon Haiyan? If they had not known Christ, their hope is forever lost. Just as this hope (of eternal life) is real, hell is as much as real.
So, onward, Christian soldier. Continue to run the race that is set before us. Our hope does not disappoint.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Rom. 5:1-5, emphasis added)
(Beautiful photo courtesy of a sister in Christ; edited by me).
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