The unthinkable happens.  An overstressed businessman receives the call: his mother has died unexpectedly.  Ready to unwind, a teenager enters her house only to find a tearful mom saying that the girl’s father has just walked out.  A dad drives from work to his son’s baseball game and discovers there was a car accident, and he will be going home alone.  A terrorist attack victim watches his two friends fall and knows they will never get back up.  Tragedy.  Loss.  Despair.  In a moment we can be broken and stripped of everything we value.  The things we once deemed so important – our reputation, our popularity, our priorities – and the thought-pattern we once functioned under – our preconceived ideas about people, places, and things, our judgments, our subconscious distractions – are empty.  Broken of our confidence and comfort, stripped of our outlook, and removed from the world’s ideology, we are provided with a new foundation, shown a new light, and presented with a new task.
            We stand on FAITH.  This faith that God is good and works things for the good of those who love Him, that He is Sovereign, that He is the Redeemer, is the rock upon which we stand.  It can never be shaken.  Only as we, broken over our sin and depending on God alone, stand on this rock do we see clearly.  We clearly see truth – that life is a blink and pleasing God is what counts.  We clearly see the urgency to obey, to know God, and to make Him known.  We stand on this rock of faith, or we will not stand at all.
            We hold our lantern of HOPE.  Standing on our faith removed from the world’s entanglements, we know that darkness does not have to consume, for we have the light, our Savior.  He overcame darkness, and through Him we, too, can overcome.  Here in our hands we hold the promise of eternity and the assurance of daily strength.  Only by this light’s glow that removes darkness can we see the reality of beauty in the broken.  With our lantern of hope beaming, we cherish life out of thankfulness.
            We apply the balm of LOVE.  With our petty distractedness and selfish ambition stripped away, we value people unreservedly.  Removed from our heart’s throne, we humbly fuse each God-valued person with His unconditional, healing love.  Through the hands that caringly feed, through the ears that sincerely listen, through the words that warmly encourage, through the feet that sacrificially go, through the eyes that deeply cherish all, people witness love, and we uncover joy. The image of Jesus and the fragrance of faith and hope linger in our wake.  This is our humble love.  
            Only by being stripped and broken can we clearly distinguish value.  In this awed, humble state we marvel at our Master’s great plan and great grace for us, sinners.  Standing, shining, and healing, we live God’s heart.  Stripped, broken, and humbled, we are freed to live.

1 Corinthians 13:13a
But now these three remain: faith, hope, and love.

 © 2013 Deborah Hope Shining


I definitely don't want this to be a monologue. What are your thoughts? Questions? Ideas?