Faith & Hope: Every Grain Of Sand

In the time of my confession,
in the hour of my deepest need
When the pool of tears beneath
my feet flood every newborn seed
There's a dying voice within me
reaching out somewhere
Toiling in the danger and
in the morals of despair

Don't have the inclination
to look back on any mistake
Like Cain, I now behold this
chain of events I must break
In the fury of the moment I
can see the Master's hand
In every leaf that trembles
in every grain of sand
~Bob Dylan~

Bad News

There are moments in life that suck all faith out of us—little fragments of time when meaning is a swirling lunatic hurling demoralizing words that taunt and jab at us.

All tomorrows are gone. Our expectations, whether fair or false, are caught in a meat grinder that relentlessly does its job. We gasp and grope for something, anything to hang onto—we hold our breath and reach for courage even as it disperses.

Failure assaults us. The support beams we’ve relied on seem to be wobbly and unreliable. We are left wondering about what we truly believe as faith and hope gets drowned in a deluge of tears.

Recently I had one of those occasions. A good friend had no option but to deliver bad, potentially devastating news on the long distance line, and as he did so, enlightened reasoning took a nosedive off the map.

I found myself thinking dark, ugly thoughts that came unbidden and unwanted, but there they were—what was to be done with the questions that came framed within those gloomy considerations?

Should I pretend that they were not there or challenge them head-on? The decisions made in these instantaneous soul-searches do much to influence and define our perspective.

Here’s a fact: If left unchecked, disappointment and frustration breeds feelings of being cut loose, which gives birth to a nonstop litany of defeat. Ignoring all the negativity and lies will never result in their meek disappearance. Instead they creep down into deep cracks where they take root and fester into pustules full of poison and bitterness.

In those horrible moments when faith gets trashed, confrontation is the prescribed remedy. We must encounter the hard realities of life with truth—the falsehoods of the Enemy need to be placed under the microscope of truth.

To do so we must begin by recalibrating our thinker to remember that truth does not require our agreement or understanding for it to be—it is not dependent on our acceptance for its existence. Whether we believe it or not truth is alive and kicking at the darkness.

Philosopher princes and prophets of relativism seek to deny or dismantle it, but truth stands alone to withstand the whirlwind tempests of time and humanity. Like a towering monolith of rock in the high desert, when the storms pass and the skies clear, there truth remains unmoved, unharmed, unchanged.

In the fury of the moment I can see the Master’s hand, in every leaf that trembles, in every grain of sand. . .

Oh, the flowers of indulgence
and the weeds of yesteryear
Like criminals, they have choked
the breath of conscience and
good cheer
The sun beat down upon the steps
of time to light the way
To ease the pain of idleness
and the memory of decay

I gaze into the doorway of
temptation's angry flame
And every time I pass that way
I always hear my name
Then onward in my journey I
come to understand
That every hair is numbered
like every grain of sand
~Bob Dylan~

Hope Deferred

Whilst in the midst of my mini meltdown some ancient wisdom written by Solomon came floating out of the inner turmoil: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”

In kneejerk fashion I fixated on the first portion of that couplet. Hope had been repeatedly deferred and my heart was sick. I felt set-up by a corrupt system.

A person I love is caught inside a mess he’d definitely had a hand in constructing—he has taken full responsibility for his actions and accepted the penalty. We went blindly through a maze of legal maneuvers and niceties where judgment triumphed over mercy—retribution was far more crucial than any concept of rehabilitation.

I was helpless. A rant roiled out of me that featured brilliantly crude illustrations of the unfairness of it all. It questioned the ancestry and intellectual deficiencies of the authorities involved—it took mocking potshots at the seemingly endless definitions of integrity, morality, right and wrong.

The essence of the aching pain was stripped naked—the heart sickness had nowhere to go, no place to hide. It was this rattling skeleton provoking me with deceptions and distortions.

And then, the totality of Solomon’s observation came rushing at me, with the second half of it hammering relentlessly: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”

Hope deferred makes the heart sick is an accurate assessment that is universal. Everyone has their own firsthand experiences to prove this out—likely dozens of examples come to mind.

However, that opening phrase has to be evaluated by the counterweight of the final section of the sentence. It came to me that no matter the present hurt, truth had dimensions yet to be plumbed. Being blanketed in futility was no reason to wallow in an upsetting setback—I had to find the resolve to muster a positive response because life is merely a short hop, skip and jump to eternity.

Then onward in my journey I come to understand, that every hair is numbered like every grain of sand. . .

I have gone from rags to riches
in the sorrow of the night
In the violence of a summer's
dream, in the chill of a wintry light
In the bitter dance of loneliness
fading into space
In the broken mirror of innocence
on each forgotten face

I hear the ancient footsteps like
the motion of the sea
Sometimes I turn, there's someone
there, other times it's only me
I am hanging in the balance
of the reality of man
Like every sparrow falling,
like every grain of sand
~Bob Dylan~

Faith Revived

At the conclusion of what we know as the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus of Nazareth said: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

This passage is truth—perhaps better scripted as TRUTH. This is one of the places in Scripture where people who proclaim to be Christ-followers have to put up or shut up. If we freely accept the gift of salvation, we have to take Jesus at his word and attempt to live what we say we believe. When life unfolds with no hiccups or body blows that’s a stress-free proposition, but that’s not where character is forged and faithful perseverance shaped.

Transformation happens as we slog our way through all the crappola of a fallen and contaminated world. Our light is brightest when we consciously affirm truth while up against a wall—our testimony is most authentic when we shed crud and weather the gales and reversals to keep pressing on to the higher calling of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

One of the singular realities of life on planet earth is that we have an Enemy who is unpleased and quite probably outraged by any semblance of a faith-response from us. There are no Marquess of Queensberry rules to which our Enemy adheres. On the contrary: The father of lies is cunning and cowardly—an eye-gouging guttersnipe who uses all tactics necessary to gain an advantage against us.

We do not have any inkling of what goes on in the heavenlies, but this we know: The Enemy of our souls is a ruthlessly cold-hearted bastard who, according to Jesus, comes only to steal and kill and destroy.

In the face of such a brutal Enemy we might be tempted to wilt or toss in the towel, but that’d be a grand mistake. There is much fortitude to learn and tremendous solace to glean in the witness of God’s Word.

Consider this from Paul of Tarsus, penned in the context of suffering: “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

When we are overwhelmed there’s no easy way to scrounge up faith to hope again. It is a deliberate choice that starts as we embrace the bottomless mercy of the One who sees around every corner and into every crevice of our lives. The Creator’s grace combined with his compassionate comprehension of the human condition is awesome motivation for us to intentionally pack up all heartaches and doubt in the prayer of a heroic man in the New Testament: “I believe; help me overcome my unbelief.”

I am hanging in the balance of the reality of man, like every sparrow falling, like every grain of sand. . .

More by this Author

  • Something Rotten, Something Wondrous
    6

    Troubles are part and parcel of life. We all experience hard times that can be described as being rotten. This essay considers prayer and the Advent Season to direct the reader to hope, help and redemption.

  • Daring Adventure Or Nothing
    13

    Helen Keller overcame tremendous disabilities to live a life that was a daring adventure. This essay is an inspirational look at her life, and presents lessons we can learn and apply.

  • God's Bull's-eye
    45

    God has a mark for each of us to hit. This essay explores that from the context of Scripture. It offers much encouragement to be courageous and proceed forward in the process of discipleship.


Comments 33 comments

kathy brown 5 years ago

Great article.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Thanks, Kathy.


Linda D 5 years ago

Thanks for sharing this!


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

You're welcome, Linda. Thanks for reading.


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 5 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

Ken dear brother: I have faced these moments several times in my 64 years of life. I always ask the two same questions when this happens. What is wrong in my life to have caused this? And What is God asking of me to make things different in my life. Sometime the answer is staring me in the face, other times I have to wait upon God to shine a light on the right path to follow.


Neal Letteney 5 years ago

"Our light is brightest when we consciously affirm truth while up against a wall—our testimony is most authentic when we shed crud and weather the gales and reversals to keep pressing on to the higher calling of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." Ken, I don't know that anyone could have said it better. Thank you for choosing, within your private hell, to point the rest of us toward heaven. You are the real deal, my friend.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Dave - Thank you for sharing words of testimony. Those are the hard questions, aren't they? And the waiting on God seems to be always easier said than done. Peace & blessings.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Thanks, Neal. Your affirmation & encouragement is much appreciated. Blessings, my friend.


creationmom profile image

creationmom 5 years ago from Appalachia / North Carolina

Thanks, Ken. I'm sorry that you had to get bad news, long-distance. That's a hard blow. But, your response is very well put.

I'm a creation apologist and believe me, I know that the Enemy is hard at work flinging "crud" and "crappola." It can get quite disheartening to read and listen to all of the outright lies, distortions, and misinterpretations of evidence that the evolutionists purport to be their own gospel; along with the jeers, sneers, and fiery darts of aspersion that they cast at those of us who stand firmly on the Word of the God Who created it all.

Just as sad, or maybe more so, is watching more and more upstanding and outstanding theologians, join the crowd of compromisers who, in an effort to reconcile the creation account in Scripture with the supposed "facts" of science, bow the knee to the god of evolution by creating alternative stories, such as the gap theory, day-age, or some other form of compromise.

My hope, which gets repeatedly deferred, is that I might witness some of those who have been led astray by lies parading as fact, see the Light of the glorious Gospel and come to know the Truth as only the Eyewitness of creation can tell it. That you for your reminder that my hope is only deferred, not expunged, and will one day be fulfilled; that in the end "the storms will pass and the skies will clear, and there truth will remain unmoved, unharmed, unchanged." May that day come sooner than later, but in the meantime, may we remain faithful to witness of that Truth to all we can.


Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean 5 years ago from Bismarck, ND

I think about those words a lot - hope deferred makes the heart sick - but I guess I must have never looked at how the rest goes - that a longing fulfilled is a tree of life - I love that and will be sure to remember it.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

creationmom - Thank you for stopping in. I'm glad you enjoyed the visit. Thanks also for your thoughtful comments. Be blessed & encouraged in your work.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Cari Jean - Thanks for visiting. The second part of the Proverb is really worthy of some deep thinking. Blessings.


SusieQ42 profile image

SusieQ42 5 years ago from Lakeland, FL

We must remember, Jesus is ALWAYS the VICTOR!!!


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

AMEN, SusieQ42. Thank you.


SusieQ42 profile image

SusieQ42 5 years ago from Lakeland, FL

You're very welcome! Have a blessed night.


RevLady profile image

RevLady 5 years ago from Lantana, Florida

Ken, your hub truly hit the nail on the head as verified by my own life experiences and my responses. Like you, when all is said and done, we know and rely on the love of God. In the fullness of time, His love heals, renews, and restores us. All glory to His name!

Forever His


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

RevLady - Thank you. And a loud AMEN. Blessings.


jami l. pereira 5 years ago

Beautifully written and interestingly informative , i voted as such ,a truly amazing write! thanks for sharing


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

jami l. pereira - You're welcome. Thank you for stopping in & sharing. Blessings.


heart4theword profile image

heart4theword 5 years ago from hub

Amazing how much we have going on in our individual lives! All having our own challenges of life, finding our own way through and out of the muck! Getting cleansed and renewed day by day:) G Great hub Ken!


allpurposeguru profile image

allpurposeguru 5 years ago from North Carolina

I've been dealing with my own deferred hopes for the past two or three years. Through it all, I have struggled to keep the faith, but at times, just as you so eloquently describe, it seems almost impossible and unreasonable. It's times like that, when the storm is the hardest, that we must fight the hardest to maintain faith and hope, which along with love, will last forever. Thank you for describing your struggle, your defiance of the devil, and especially for highlighting the last part of that proverb. The longings of anyone who loves God will eventually find fulfillment.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

heart4theword - Thanks for stopping in & sharing. Much appreciated. Yes, we all have our own setbacks & challenges, & we can all learn & be encouraged by our stories of faith. Blessings.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

allpurposeguru - Thank you for sharing words of affirmation & testimony. May you be blessed & encouraged in faith & hope as you stand strong on the promises of God. Blessings.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States

Terrific hub. It is a deliberate choice to look up with faith and place our woes in the hand of the Great Almighty. Sometimes it just takes walking through some emotional pain until we look to our Creator. Rated up and awesome!


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Pamela99 - Thank you. The up & awesome are much appreciated. Your viewpoint is exactly right. Blessings.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas

Ken, if you lived in this area, you would be the Pastor of the church I would attend for many, many reasons starting with the fact that you can face reality head on and see the sorrow that weighs on mankind and causes his heart to question what he believes. You are a realist in the strongest sense and you preach what you believe not what someone told you to think or interpret. In the time that I have known you have I have witnessed a man who can bring religion to the masses as one of the masses and that is so uncommon today. That require real leadership. You ask no one to look upon you with any reverence but you help us all to see the see in the worst of things...all the while continuing to be as ordinary as we are. You may not consider that a virtue but I am here to testify to you that it is definitely a virtue and a calling which you have answered most effectively. You have the ability to bond with the common man and bring him a message from the Lord...a talent beyond most men. I hope you know this and I hope you will continue to follow that path. WB


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Wow, Wayne. I am deeply touched & humbled by your words. I will file them away & replay them on those days I feel like I'm on a treadmill to nowhere. Thank you.


Goodnex David profile image

Goodnex David 4 years ago

Great hub Ken! What does it take to knw and understand the truth as it is, when it seems like everyone is listening to the lies being told by the society? I gain insight again...


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 4 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Goodnex David - Thank you. You ask a hard question. I wish I had a answer, but do not. Blessings.


Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

Jo_Goldsmith11 4 years ago

Thank you for sharing this. I saved it and I just read it the other day when I needed some encouragement. I really appreciate your thoughts and the spirit that makes you such a blessing! take care and I wish you the best. I voted up and shared. :)


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 4 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Jo_Goldsmith11 - You're welcome. I'm glad it was an encouragement to you. Thanks for the up vote & sharing it. Blessings.


EyesStraightAhead profile image

EyesStraightAhead 4 years ago from Florida, USA

I believe the best paragraph I have read to date on hubpages is "Here’s a fact: If left unchecked, disappointment and frustration breeds feelings of being cut loose, which gives birth to a nonstop litany of defeat. Ignoring all the negativity and lies will never result in their meek disappearance. Instead they creep down into deep cracks where they take root and fester into pustules full of poison and bitterness." Way to go! I am sharing this one on my FB page today because so many people need to understand this!

I really enjoy your style of writing so far. I like that share your thoughts without attacking others' beliefs and that you do so in an intellectual and heartwarming way. Many could learn from your style. I definitely look forward to reading more.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 4 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

EyesStraightAhead - Thank you so much for your encouraging words of affirmation. You are very kind. Thank you also for sharing this piece on Facebook. I hope it helps others wrestling with hard stuff. Blessings.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working