Saturday, June 16, 2012

Finding Hope In Unlikely Places

A few weeks ago a friend of mine let me borrow Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda.  She knows that I love to read.  She also knows that I have a love for India having done missionary work there many years ago.

I just finished the book a couple of hours ago, so I'm still processing all that I read.  Secret Daughter is fiction, but there is so much truth packed into this story as it relates to family, faith, love, and hope.

As Somer and later Asha, traveled to India for the first time, I remembered my own first trip to India.  The sea of brown faces.  The vendors calling out chai in the train stations.  The smell of pollution, sweat, and spices that hits you as soon as you walk out the door.  The brightly dressed women in their saris and punjabis.  The children with babies on their hips begging for change.  It was all overwhelming.  Frightening yet beautiful.

In a way, I could relate to Somer's story.  Particularly, her desire to have a child and be a mother.  My greatest desire is to have a daughter, a little girl to sing to sleep, teach to read and write, and be there to guide her steps as she grows.  To be the same kind of mother and friend that my mom is to me.

In other ways, I could relate to Asha's journey.  She goes to India for many reasons, but the answers she finds aren't quite what she expects.  What she finds is hope in the most unlikely of places - in the faces of the women and children of the slums.  Whether born into extreme poverty or forced into it, these women and children have hope for a brighter tomorrow.  In the midst of the darkest of places, there was a ray of light.

There's nothing like traveling to one of the poorest nations on Earth to gain perspective.  On days when I grumble and complain about my single-wide trailer, I only have to remember the makeshift homes made of cardboard boxes, mud, and tarps in the slums of India.  When my 14 year old car gives me fits, I only have to remember the hard, calloused feet of the women of India who walk for miles without complaint.

On my darkest days when I think there is nothing left to live for, I only have to remember that there is everything to live for because there is still HOPE.

HOPE in the Creator who created me in the secret place and knew me before I was even born (Psalm 139)

HOPE in a loving Father who takes delight in me and rejoices over me with singing (Zephaniah 3:17)

HOPE in my Savior, Jesus, who took my sin and shame upon Himself on the cross (John 19)

What unlikely places have you stumbled upon hope?


Denise Dilley said...

The unlikely places? Usually it is embedded in suffering or despair. A situation that I could have never expected, a time in life when everything seemed terrible and no one else was available but God. Hope for a tomorrow. Hope for everlasting life. After enduring those times, seeing how God had a plan to use those experiences - priceless.
Thanks for talking about hope - we need it everyday.

Denise Dilley said...

Yes, hope is definitely found in the lonely places of suffering & despair. Thankful that God doesn't leave us alone in those times and uses our terrible experiences for good.

I agree, we need hope every day.