Faith & Hope: Every Grain Of Sand
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
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. . .
and the weeds of yesteryear
Like criminals, they have choked
the breath of conscience and
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
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
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. . .
- Wanted Man
Wanted Man a.k.a. Ken R. Abell, seeks to be a blessing to others. He's a rake, a rambler, and a teller of tales who understands that there is strength in a story well told and well lived. To learn more, inquire or schedule him, visit this web site.
- Faith: An Ancient Lesson
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