August 22, 2019

Touched by Grief, Held by Hope by Alan Anderson



“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12 ESV).

I have always had an affinity for people who suffer. Coming alongside hurting people for so long reflects my childhood. For reasons, I won’t reveal here, there was a lot of “tribulation” in my early life.


As a boy my concept of God was one of judgment and thunderous volcanic explosions. I expressed prayer to God out of fear. My prayers began with lines like, “God, I’ll be good…” or “God, I don’t know if you care about me but…” That is how I lived my childhood. I was a timid boy, and perhaps my timidity encouraged my fear. I remember thinking many times I wished I could be a grown up.



When I was a boy in Scotland I discovered writing. Writing saved me. My love for writing didn’t come out of the blue. In my InScribe blog post of Sept. 22, 2015, I wrote about a schoolteacher I remember and love to this day. Her name was Miss Gordon. Here is an excerpt of the post.


From being with Miss Gordon several times during lunch or after school I learned I loved to write. The writing was how I spoke into the world and I expressed my feelings. Miss Gordon and her care for me somehow unleashed my writing.–(InScribe blog post of Sept. 22, 2015)


Miss Gordon helped me know there was hope for me. She encouraged me. Miss Gordon allowed me to be me. This was freedom. This wonderful and caring woman, who had no children of her own, let me know I mattered. I have never forgotten her. God used Miss Gordon to introduce me to hope. She was my hope.


Tribulation can be overcome and endured. For instance, God’s people have endured suffering or tribulations for centuries. We are people of hope.


Tribulation, suffering, grief, pain, etc. have always made their presence known in life. When experiencing tribulation my patience may be hesitant at first. I can never, however, discount the might, the power, or the tender loving care of hope. Hope in spite of tribulation has helped me mature in life and faith.


My writing has also matured. I know I am not a well-known writer and that’s okay. I no longer hide my writing and this is a big step for me. I’m still an introvert and not the most outgoing person yet can socialize with people and enjoy them. This is also a big step.

 


I have a tagline I use for my writing and workshops. I think I’ve shared this in another blog post but can’t remember when. My tagline is “Touched by grief, held by hope.” Over several decades now, I have come alongside people acquainted with grief. They are my people and audience. Hope bonds and holds us together.


Tribulation does not rule over me. Without tribulation or grief or sorrowful experiences, I would not know the depth of hope God promises. Devoid of hardships, the love of God would be foreign to me.




This is how I sum up my life. As a young boy, I trembled and hid. As a man, I am scarred yet continue to hope. I know I am loved.



 

10 comments:

  1. Thank you for being obedient to your call to be a voice for those who are suffering or in grief.

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    1. Hi Tracy! I've always counted coming alongside people an honour. I am thankful for the support of others when I have a need. I then want to be there for others. :)

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  2. Thank you, Alan, for sharing the blessings and hardships of your journey to greater freedom, hope and joy. And, alas, some of that has come through hardship and tribulation. God, however, knew you before you were born. I love your story of Miss Gordon. As a teacher, I cared deeply about my students and tried to reach and teach them on an individual basis. I hope I was a Miss Gordon to some of them.

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    1. Hi Sharon. In knowing you through social media I have a strong sense you would be another Miss Gordon. I'm sure many students will always remember what you did for them. She was a dear lady to me. I only knew her for a couple of months yet I've never forgotten her. I still think of her and love her over all these many years.

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  3. Alan, I love your tagline: “Touched by grief, held by hope.” The hope you hold really does shine brightly as you write here. I'm so glad you have found your place in this world 'to come alongside people acquainted with grief. They are my people and audience. Hope bonds and holds us together.' I know He will bless many through your hope-filled words and love. Also enjoyed hearing about your beautiful teacher, Miss Gordon. What a gift she gave you.

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  4. Hi Brenda. Thank you for your encouraging words. I appreciate your comment about Miss Gordon. She indeed was a beautiful person. I've always counted it an honour to come alongsid people. You might say, "It's A Beautiful Life." :)

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  5. I think it's wonderful that God works through us broken souls to encourage others. Only we know the depths of sorrow and disappointment. Somebody who never had tough trials can't understand our experiences. May the Lord team us up with those folks who need a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on.

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  6. Hi Bruuce! Yes, indeed, I agree with you in your prayer. I pray also we can be there for people. :)

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  7. You are a great encourager, Alan! Thank-you for sharing!

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  8. Hi Lynn! Thank you for also being an encourager. :)

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