When I was a young boy, my mother dragged me everywhere. I visited widows from church, sang in nursing homes, waited eternities for her to shop and pick out a dress, ate at quaint little restaurants in obscure places, visited libraries, went to concerts, and listened various speakers.
I was a little sponge, soaking up each experience.
One of those experiences was listening to Corrie Ten Boom. If you're not familiar with her experience, I recommend reading her story of being imprisoned for hiding Jews during WWII. You can find it here.
After WWII, Corrie became a self-proclaimed "tramp for the Lord." She spread the message of love and forgiveness wherever she went. I read her story in comic-book version in elementary school. I watched the movie, The Hiding Place, when it was released in 1975. Then, in the late 70s I heard her speak in Indianapolis.
Her age-crackled Dutch accent added to my interest, and I marveled to hear this woman in her 80s stand before thousands and speak with such clarity and conviction. I remember clearly her words as she spoke of finding God's presence even in the darkness of Auschwitz. She said, "There is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still."
In these trying times, it's easy to feel like we've fallen into a pit. The deeper, the darker. The light seems far away and out of reach.
But we are not in a pit. We are not in a storm. We are not locked in a heated debate. Our struggles are not with flesh and blood. Not with politicians. Not with each other.
There is no pit. There is no storm. There is no debate. These things are temporal.
Corrie served a king and a kingdom beyond this world and beyond our finite understanding. Her words remain apt even today. “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest.”
Politics matter in the moment, but the moment is a vapor, a sound byte, a forgotten hashtag, yesterday's news. Here, then gone. I imagine the coin Jesus held when He was confronted about the oppressive Roman temple tax. "Render to Caesar that which is Caesar's, and to God that which is God's." Did He gaze at that smoothed likeness of Caesar and muse at the frailty of Rome? Did He picture that coin making its way through each hand that would touch it until it was finally lost forever, buried in the sands? Did He ponder the fading and falling of the Roman empire? Did He give it any thought?
The hands that hold all the power in the universe held that coin. But the coin and the emperor stamped on its face didn't matter, because the kingdom of heaven is not an earthly kingdom.
Do not be discouraged. Today's trials are tomorrow's forgotten past. But His kingdom endures forever. And it is the kingdom of love and grace.