My wife Julie and I love living in Colorado Springs! This is our twenty-fifth year in the community, and we love the diversity in people, terrain and weather. Every day when I drive to work, I make the turn on Powers and take in the awesome view of the Front Range with majestic Pikes Peak. It’s one of the many things I love about living here. I also loved passing by the Big Johnson Reservoir, and was so disheartened to see it being drained three years ago. We don’t have too many bodies of water in our area, and this was a refreshing sight to see. I know repairs were necessary, but I missed the wildlife and hikers that circled the lake.
How glad I was in recent weeks to see water beginning to puddle in the empty basin again! The circumference is expanding and will continue for months to come. Already the antelope and foot traffic are returning. Before long, the photographers with their tripods will be setting up on the ridge overlooking the lake and capture photos of the wildlife. For years Big Johnson has been a blessing to the farmers and ranchers who depend on the life-giving water it provides, and the rest of us have been privileged to enjoy it in other ways.
While the water level has been rising, I’ve also seen something else rising in our community in recent weeks: hope. We’ve been shaken by the disappearance of an 11-year-old boy, and hundreds if not thousands of people have come together to pray and search for Gannon and to support his family. I’m touched when I drive through Lorson Ranch and see a blue ribbons and blue lights all over. They’re symbols of hope, that somehow and sometime soon, this boy will be found and reunited with his family.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible about hope is found in Hebrew 6:19 where is it speaks of hope as an anchor for the soul. So many life situations and challenges can hit like a storm. A marriage conflict. A broken relationship with a child. Financial setbacks. Illness and physical ailments. It’s in times like those when we need hope that the situation can get better, that life may be different but it’s far from over. Hope is the anchor that keeps us stable and protects us from making irrational decisions. Through hope we find a peace that passes understanding because we know that there is Someone greater than us who knows the big picture and has the power to guide us and provide for us.
Someone once told me that local churches are dispensers of hope. I believe that more than ever before. I see one of my primary jobs as a pastor to come alongside those who are stuck and those who are struggling and to remind them that no matter what they are going through, God has not abandoned them. He is near. He doesn’t promise to spare us from the trials of life, (He didn’t even do that for his own Son!), but promises to be with us always. In the midst of our storms, in those times when we can’t see through the fog, when we feel the most alone—he is with us.
When hope is absent, feelings of resignation become overwhelming. We quit trying. We give up. We succumb to the dark voices that whisper to us. But hope can reverse all of that. Hope enables us to persevere, to be optimistic, and to appreciate what we have. Hope is a reservoir we can draw from in our time of need.
In the days ahead, when you drive by Big Johnson and see the water level rising, may you be encouraged to know that there is also a reservoir of hope readily available.