For Christians, spring is a special time of remembering the death of Christ and celebrating the fact that Christ triumphed over death. Easter is the culmination of a whole season of remembrance and reflection, a celebration of the fact that hope is not vain.
So this morning I was thrilled to sing an old hymn about hope, written by Edward Mote in the early 19th century. Maybe you know it:
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus's blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus's name.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand--
All other ground is sinking sand.
But it was the third verse of this hymn that really caught my attention this morning.
His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way
He then is all my hope and stay.
Have you every felt like you were in the midst of a "whelming flood"? I surely have. As a matter of fact, I'm there right now.
Some of you know that my family has faced some significant health issues over the past few years. My middle son had major heart surgery in April 2008. My husband had heart surgery in February 2009. Today I want to share with you the news that my husband now faces a second open-heart surgery. Next Tuesday, April 12, Jack will undergo surgery to replace his ascending aorta with a graft and to replace his aortic valve with a mechanical valve.
To say that I am grateful for the advances in medicine that make this surgery possible would be a huge understatement. Jack's surgery will be done by the chief of aortic surgery at Duke, and I am thankful beyond measure for it. Jack himself has been brave and strong; he's the strongest man I know. He's been tending to so many things as he prepares for this surgery--working hard, taking care of business. I am grateful for him.
But oh, my friends. I've been struggling in the "whelming flood" of anxiety and fear. This past week I had a couple of days of feeling like I was drowning. Thankfully, a few of my dear friends encircled me and prayed for me. They took my anxiety, my fears--all my raw, messy emotions. They lifted them off my shoulders and took them to Jesus.
And you know what? Jesus was willing to take them. Honestly, I was a mess. I'm still a bit of a mess. But I am grateful to be reminded that Jesus is right here with me.
This I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
"The LORD is my portion," says my soul," therefore I will hope in him."
Lamentations 3:21-24, English Standard Version
If you'll join me in praying for Jack and for our whole family in this difficult but hopeful time, I'll be most grateful.