Extreme Situations

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And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

Extreme situations are definitely all too common. Around 14 million children suffer hardship and trauma from the war in Syria and Iraq. UNICEF estimates that 140 million children worldwide are orphans. According to the World Health Organization, 66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone.

Extreme situations.

Closer to home, a dear childhood friend of mine is fighting for her life in a hospital ICU. Her illness resonates loud and clear to me, shouting out the truth that life is filled with extreme situations, situations that assail us and leave us helpless and hopeless. And we are left with no control.

Extreme situations.

I found this little gem of a quote in a friend’s blog post today.

In extreme situations, which have been emptied of all shelter and tenderness, that small voice whispers from somewhere beyond and encourages the heart to hold out for dignity, respect, beauty, and love.

– John O’Donohue

So in the throes of extreme situations that come our way, let us give thanks for the whisper of that small voice, the voice that does not give us control, but does give us hope.

The Biblical character we know as Elijah faced off against an extreme situation.

. . . A great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

– I Kings 19:11-12

If you find yourself hopelessly trapped in an extreme situation, may you find hope in the gentle whisper of God.

Hope!

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I don’t usually pay much attention to quotes printed on signs, but today I saw this one that hit me right between the eyes.

God is saying to you today, “Everything will work out. I’m in complete control. I know what the medical report says. I know what the financial situation looks like . . . I know how big your dreams are, and hear me clearly; I will not fail you.”

So to extrapolate this message for me . . . “I know what the strain of dialysis is like. I know you miss your grandchildren,. I know you endure a lot of pain. I know what the future holds for you. I know where your kidney is.”

And that works for me. The promise is in Hebrews 13:5.

” . . . for God has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support.”

What a word of hope!