In our new world of COVID-19, we're all waiting for the "thaw." Read on as my friend, Jennifer Langley, helps us see hope on the move in long-frozen relationships.
By Jennifer Langley
I feel like the Narnian creatures in C. S. Lewis' classic allegory, when they first began to suspect that Aslan, the great lion and redeemer, was on the move after years of silence. A hundred years of winter, and never Christmas. A hundred years of waiting and longing and wondering when Aslan would show up. If Aslan would show up.
We have not waited nearly a hundred years, but any amount of time can seem long when waiting and praying and hoping and trying to hang on and not give up hope in a long winter season. Three desperate situations out of our control. Three loved ones always weighing heavily on our hearts.
Recently we've seen signs of thawing. Cold hearts warming. Frozen loved ones melting, opening. Dead relationships stirring, coming back to life. Spring? Wishful thinking? Or is Aslan on the move?
A phone call was the first sign of a thaw. After three years of not even hearing the sound of this estranged daughter's voice. Impossible. Undreamed of. But prayed for. She apologized! She met for lunch, hugged, was friendly. The winter is thawing. The brokenness begins to mend.
The second situation involves a distant son who's been on the wrong path for decades. Praying and hoping for change has felt like watching an accident in progress, willing it to stop. It's not going to happen, it's too late, it's impossible. But we ask anyway because we're desperate for this son, and there are no solutions. Now he is saying things on the phone that are above and beyond our expectation. Really? He's invited Jesus into his heart and life? He's done with stealing, lying, selling drugs? He wants to spend the rest of his life helping people, not taking from them? He doesn't want the rest of his life to be a waste? He wants to be a missionary to street people? He wants to be a man of God? Learn from us? Study the Word?
These are words that we never expected to hear from this son's mouth. Never. Although we kept on asking, knocking, praying, begging. Knowing that it would be nothing less than a miracle because year after year, crime after crime, nothing ever changed. But there are signs. Is Spring coming? Are we getting our hopes up in vain? Or is Aslan on the move?
And then there's a friend who has attempted suicide multiple times. Someone this broken can't change. Can't stick with any good intentions or programs. She's proven it hundreds of times. All the rehab, all the assistance, all the conversations, all the friends, all the counseling, all the doctors, all the Christians working together couldn't put this broken life back together again. But God can. Which I never doubted. I know God can do anything. But would he?
But ... there are signs. Different from the last time. Or the time before that. Or the thousand times before that. There is repentance. There are hard questions asked and dealt with. There are tears of regret and remorse and a determination and a clinging to God and his Word that weren't there before. Another brave but futile attempt to get her life together? Or Aslan on the move?
How often in the throes of agonized prayer and fasting have I cried out to God, "What about these people I love? What about a miracle in my time? What about demonstrating Your power now?" How often I confess my praying was pure duty, obedience, an attempt to be faithful. Though I have never doubted God's ability to save, restore, redeem and rebuild; and though I have heard many stories in which he does all that and more, I had trouble believing that God would do this for these particular people. Sometimes my faith was frozen like winter.
How do you believe in Spring when it's been absent so long you can barely remember what it is? Or if it is. Though some in Narnia gave it all up as fairy tales, some kept the faith. Aslan is real. He will show up. He will make everything right.
But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you. Psalm 39:7
Jennifer Langley lives in Illinois with her husband of 42 years. They have seven children and nine grandchildren (she is pictured here with 5 of her grandchildren). She invests in her family and community through mentoring a MOPS group, teaching Sunday school, and homeschooling her 8-year-old grandson. She also loves to write, cook, plan lessons, swim, sew and take bike rides with her husband.