By Lenora Rousseau
We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God. (Hebrews 6:18-19, The Message).
For many of us, these past few weeks of worldwide pandemic have felt like a slow fall (of sorts) as our assumptions about the fundamentals of our daily life (from how we care for our families, to work, to how we connect with friends, to gathering in our faith communities, and so on) have all been crumbling down around us.
As we navigate unchartered territories, especially those of us who provide spiritual care or pastoral leadership to others, we may find ourselves too quickly grasping for answers or assurances that prove irrelevant or feel shallow.
I was recently reminded of something Henri Nouwen wrote that guided my spiritual journey time and time again: "Optimism and hope are radically different attitudes. Optimism is the expectation that things-the weather, human relationships, the economy, the political situation, and so on-will get better. Hope is the trust that God will fulfill God’s promises to us in a way that leads us to true freedom. The optimist speaks about concrete changes in the future. The person of hope lives in the moment with the knowledge and trust that all of life is in good hands."
As things shift on a daily basis right now, platitudes that offer a little more than hollow optimism are not only unhelpful, they can be harmful to our hearts, minds, and souls as we wrestle with the very real challenges of what it will mean to rebuild our lives on the other side.
What we need is simple hope that reminds us and invites us to rest in the promise we are being held in "good hands" - God's hands.
Let it sink in for a moment. Second by second, breath by breath - all of life is being held in "Good Hands."
This truth can certainly be a lifeline we can cling to right now, I think it's even more important to remember even if/when we lose our grip and find ourselves falling into darkness or despair, God doesn't loosen God's grip on us. In other words, when our lives feel most fragile, God continues to hold onto us in the hands of Hope, Faith, and Love - catching the fragmented pieces of our lives and beginning the work of (re)creating something beautiful out of the wreckage.
Right now, that is a promise I need to be reminded of again and again. And, I suspect I am not alone.
As our world continues to find its way forward in the midst of uncertainty and change, may we cling with hope to the "unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God," trusting as we are reaching toward God, we are already being held in "Good Hands."
Rev. Lenora Rousseau is an Elder in the United Methodist Church and serving by extension as the Founder/Program Director of Brilliantly You Virtual Wellness Center. In addition to this role, Lenora teaches a New Testament course as an Adjunct Professor with Florida Gateway College. She is also expanding her education as a Certified Spiritual Director-in-Training with Portland Seminary. In addition, Lenora is certified, trauma-informed RYT 200/RYT 500-Int. Yoga instructor and Pilates instructor. Lenora has had the privilege and joy of being married to Rev. Aaron Rousseau, a Chaplain in the US Navy, for almost 18 years. Together, they have shared in the adventures of parenting their three children - Gabrielle, Nathan, and Abigail. Having grown up in a Jewish household, Lenora continues to celebrate the Sabbath as well as other Jewish traditions with her husband and children. In her twenties, she found a spiritual home in Methodism. And in her early thirties, Lenora began to discern a call to ordained ministry. This led her to attend seminary at Asbury Theological Seminary where she completed a Master of Divinity. During her final years of seminary, Yoga became a vital part of her self-care as she sought to find practical ways to embody her faith and manage the stress of everyday life. After graduation, Lenora served as a Pastor in the local parish where she integrated her passion for wellness and vibrant living. Over the past year, Lenora has sensed God moving her beyond the walls of the local parish. With the development of Brilliantly You, Lenora is devoting her the majority of time and energy towards creating sacred space in the virtual realm where people from all walks of life can encounter the Holy and respond to that movement in ways that lead them towards greater wholeness and to make a difference in this world that only they can make. Find out more about Lenora at brillantlyyou.org