I love fiction. Although non-fiction is great and purposeful, I must confess that my brain processes stories much better.
My current fiction selection is entitled Into the Whirlwind, written by Elizabeth Camden. It opens with the great Chicago fire of 1871, giving readers a close-up view of what it must have been like to watch the city go up in flames, destroying everything in its path.
One scene struck me with particular force. As a miraculous rain fell and finally ended the raging of the fire, homeless refugees surged back into the city to find whatever shelter they could. In the novel, just as the main character is plummeting toward despair, she hears a man’s voice calling out in the midnight darkness. He is speaking words of encouragement. Words of strength. Words that remind the people to not despair. They will rebuild! They will survive! God is their strength!
According to the author, there is no historical evidence that a town crier went around calling out encouragement in the middle of that very dark night. But, the words he speaks in the novel are taken from historical records of signs put out by people all over the city. Words of hope.
I love that picture of hope. And I love the reality behind it. That hope was born out of an abiding relationship with the only One who can give such hope: Jesus. It was born out of a love for Him and a trust that His love would continue, no matter how dark the circumstances. The town crier might be fictitious, but the hope is not. It truly existed for God’s children in those dark days.
But there’s something else that strikes me from this story. The town crier could have kept that hope to himself. He could have rested on that dark night, finding a place for himself and his wife to hole up and sleep so they could tackle the hard days ahead. Instead, he walked around the city crying out, strengthening others.
Now, I know that this man is fictional. But, don’t you know people who would do this? Haven’t you heard true stories of people who share their hope with others, lifting the hearts of those around them? I have. I know people like this.
And I am convicted by them.
I live a life rooted in the knowledge that Christ is my hope. Not a hope that someday, something I desire will come to be. But a biblically rooted hope that what He has promised WILL come to pass. But what do I do with that hope? All too often, I just rest in it myself. I draw strength from it and allow it to build me up.
But I forget to share it. Ouch!
Oh to be the type of person who shares the hope I know inside my own heart. Oh to be selfless, not thinking about how I need encouragement, but instead thinking about pouring into others what has been poured into me. That is the kind of person I want to be.
Lord, make me one who pours hope into others!