“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
I closed my eyes to see an image of four toddlers sitting in the middle of a field, laughing and playing amongst themselves. Their visages were care free with no other care except for the people directly in front of them. A young woman donning a crown of roses and a long, white dress sat among them; her face radiated peace as she watched over these children with admiration and pride, a love that was tangible.
As the children played a young man approached. The woman promptly and excitedly stood up to put one of the children in his arms. Without delay, a warmth washed over my body as I imagined myself being held by the Father. I wasn’t fussy; in fact, I nearly melted into his arms as all of my present fears and anxieties drifted away, and I allowed His love to fill my soul.
I wanted to remain in His moment of safety and healing forever, but as I remained there an intense levity came over my physical body as I imagine God carrying me up to heaven. As I looked upon Paradise from the Father’s arms I became aware of what I was created for. All the holy men and women of God knew my name and were welcoming me warmly into His kingdom.
Soon after, I returned to the comfy green couch in the apartment, surrounded by my teammates who were fervently praying for campus and ourselves, and I pondered these things in my heart.
This semester has hardly gone as I had hoped. I had big plans for the guys in my Bible study, our team, and the BRCC as a whole, all with the aim to bring greater glory to God’s name. Slowly at first, then all at once, things I had planned were being taken away from me and everything I had expected from the semester had vanished. The day after students left, I was confronted with the reality of our new normal of social distancing, and the baggage of isolation that comes alongside.
To say I entirely lacked hope would negate the graces that were given me in this time; however, I found myself slothful in approaching this new means of approaching the call that God has given to me. I knew more would be required of me, and my first reaction was to shy away from the heights to which God has called me. I wanted to rely on myself rather than inviting God to take control of a situation to which I did not have control over. My spiritual director described this experience as acedia, “the paralyzing fear that comes with the recognition of the heights to which God has called me.”
As the weeks of social quarantine continued, and in large part due to a consistent and bolstered prayer life, God slowly but continuously revealed Himself to me and reminded me that He is constantly guiding me closer to His heart. As we were aloud praying as a team this past Friday, each of us having space to put forth our own intentions verbally, I humbly asked God to take away any pride in my heart so that I would be able to submit myself fully to His will. After I finished my own intentions, I continued to intercede silently while my teammates prayed, and was gifted with the above image.
He showed me who I was in His eyes: an innocent, loveable child whom He desires nothing more than to love. It is only with humility and a childlike disposition that I would ever be able to receive his love, and too often I find myself getting in my own way of receiving that love. Above all, however, I came out of this moment of consolation with a greater sense of trust, which I would argue is the first step in sharing in His hope. I continue to parse through these gifts and prayers, but this moment renewed my trust in Him and reminded me of the call He has for all of us: to become saints.
I want to leave you with the words of Andy Dufresne from The Shawshank Redemption: “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” The Lord is our hope, and He is alive and working in our lives everyday. Allow him into your heart with a small act of hope, knowing that He wants to be united to you in heaven, and trust that He will be walking alongside you as you pursue Him.
Nick Colón is a FOCUS Missionary and sent us this post from Providence, RI.