Fresh Hope – 5th March 2018

Last month, Joshua and I enjoyed a month long honeymoon on the eastern coast of Australia. January/February in this part of the country is what they call the ‘wet season’. It is summer, but being close to the equator you are experiencing an average of 35 degrees every day, at 75-80% humidity, and a high possibility of rain. So when we were gifted with four days of non-stop torrential rain, we were initially less than impressed that all our activities and plans now had to be put on hold, or worse, cancelled. We felt like time inside would be a waste – a waste of the beautiful city we had come to visit, a waste of the beach we were over-looking, a waste of the glorious pools at the resort.

Yet what we in fact found was that these days turned out to be possibly our favourite of the trip. We were nestled inside our little hut, in a rainforest, reading, ordering in food, and being forced to finally unwind.

It got me thinking about the seasons in life that perhaps aren’t what we planned for. Sometimes it is not until hindsight that we can see how good they were for us.

Over the past two and half years, Joshua, and myself have had to navigate the sometimes scary waters of a long distance relationship. Even as I type this, I am in Australia waiting for my visa, and he is in England. Do I know when the visa is coming through? No. Is this ideal? No. Is this what I had planned for life as a newlywed? Definitely not. But reality is that this is life. We walk through uncharted waters, unexpected seasons, and constant challenges.

One of the books I was reading that rainy day in our honeymoon hut was ‘Future Brain’ by Dr Jenny Brockis. It is a book on the 12 keys to creating a high performance brain. Jenny talks through the value of a brain that embraces the unexpected. The longevity of a healthy brain and soul depends on your ability to embrace the inevitable challenges of life as opportunities to progress, to grow, to learn something new. We need to reframe how we see our problems. Don’t see the things you didn’t plan for as ruining your life. See how they make you better. See how they help you understand others better. See how they make you stronger, give you insight, equip you with unique tools, and sharpen your character. Take the good out of the unexpected. This isn’t just a naïve, over-spiritual idea, secular studies show that this really does build a healthy mind, and heart.

I love how The Passion Translation puts Jesus’ words in John 16:33, ‘And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!’

Make the most of whatever season you are in. Find the good. Perhaps this is why the apostle Paul said, ‘Even in times of trouble we have a joyful confidence, knowing that our pressures will develop in us patient endurance. And patient endurance will refine our character, and proven character leads us back to hope. And this hope is not a disappointing fantasy’ (Romans 5:3-5).

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.