Still I will – Day 18
Still I will remain hopeful
Have you ever found yourself in a situation in which it felt as if the rug was pulled out from under you? You look at yourself in the mirror and find it hard to believe that the situation is truly yours. Perhaps it includes a disability, divorce, illness, amputation, extramarital affair, sequestration, abuse, addiction or even disappointment in someone you really trusted. Situations like these may take away our hope. But there is always hope — when we believe it.
A pink flower, known as the shibazakura, is what made the difference for a Japanese couple in Shintomi in Japan. Toshiyuki and his wife, Yasuko Kuroki, got married in 1956. Thereafter they worked hard as dairy farmers and built a happy life with their two children. The couple’s post-retirement dream was to travel together through Japan.
At the age of 52, Yasuko lost her sight within one week due to complications with her diabetes. In addition to the physical challenges, her blindness stole her joy and made her fall into a deep depression. All her husband’s attempts to cheer her up was unsuccessful. Yet he never stopped trying.
One day Toshiyuki discovered the pink shibazakura flower. For the next two years, he planted thousands of these flowers in their garden around the house. When spring arrived, the garden was not only bright and colourful, but a delicious fragrance hung in the air. Soon the farm started to attract tourists to see the flowers. Today almost 7 000 people visit their farm daily during spring to enjoy the sight of the beautiful flowers. And to top it all, Mrs Kuroki has her smile back!
Yasuko’s blindness placed the Kuroki’s before a choice: They could either begin to blame everything and everyone around them for what has happened to them or they could embrace their “new normal” and make the best of it. They chose the latter and with it, experienced how thousands of visitors not only enjoyed the beauty of their garden, but at the same time got inspired to keep on pressing forward, knowing that the worst situations can sometimes turn out to be much brighter and better than expected.
In Genesis we read that Joseph’s brothers, who cast him into a pit and later sold him to the Ishmaelites, stood before him to buy food during an extreme drought. He was in a leadership position and they initially did not recognise him. When they did, they feared for their lives. In Genesis 50:20 Joseph however said: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” He realised that God can make all things work together for the good for those who love him (Romans 8:28).
A business that had to close its doors might not mean an end to your business career; it may just be the beginning of a much better one, because important lessons have been learned. Your divorce may feel like the end of the world, but is God not able to give you a second chance at happiness? And your disabled child that you initially cried about so much, might at the end of the day be the greatest gift as you will daily be aware of God’s presence and grace. Let’s keep our eyes on Him and our hope in Him, because no matter how dark a situation might seem, there is always hope in Him! God bless.