Wednesday, June 22, 2016

My Only Hope by Mike DeCamp

My Only Hope

Some items of background:  1)  I carry around an I-Phone.   2)  At home, I have a Mac computer.  3)  Apple automatically transferred the Mac I-tunes to my I-Phone—much of it having been my girls’ collection from their teen years, and often not my taste.  4)  I have Bluetooth in my car.  5) Recently, my I-Tunes started playing automatically when I start my car—a fact that I find rather frustrating.

Earlier this spring, I went through what my wife likes to call a “period of disenchantment.”  It wasn’t deep enough to be depression, but I was in a consistent state of being discouraged.  Many of you know that I have written a novel, and I had been looking for a literary agent for several months—I have a collection of rejection emails.  My job had been seeing some difficult issues.  The eldership had been frustrating in some ways, and I didn’t believe that I was doing a good job.  To top it all off, I was struggling with my own internal spiritual battles.  Doubts about myself.  Doubts about God.  Struggles with keeping my mind pure.  And, let’s be clear—if you are struggling with keeping your mind pure, that means that you are sometimes FAILING.  Think about this—impure thoughts often lead to bad decisions—‘nuff said.

All this leads up to Saturday morning, April 23rd.  I was driving to the North Central Church of Christ to attend ElderLink—and I just did NOT want to be there.  Oh, sure, this was a great event with great speakers.  Church leaders from across the Midwest were planning to be there.  It was a chance to meet new people and to learn new things.  Normally, I’d be all over it with excitement.  Not this day.  Nope.  I was deeply “disenchanted” instead.  Frankly, I had just exited one of those periods of struggle with my mind, and I was feeling quite guilty.  But, I was going.

All the way there, I was praying.  I was apologizing to God, and I was lamenting my struggles.  In essence, I was pouring out my soul.  I was hurting way down deep, inside.  As I turned into the driveway at North Central, I was telling God, “I don’t want to be here.  I’ll have to put on a face and act all happy, but you and I know that I’m a mess.” 

I sat in the parking lot for a while, continuing to pray and not feeling any better.  I watched as Randy Harris, Carson Reed, and Robert Oglesby drove up, got out, and walked in.  I was still struggling in prayer and not feeling one bit better.

The car was running.  I was praying, but drawing it to a close as I steeled myself to put on that happy façade.  Finally, I grabbed my I-Phone, and said one last thing:  “Help me, God.  Please help me.”  After that, I shut off the car and opened the door. 

Then, my phone did something it had never done before.  As I held it in my hand, it started singing to me.

“What in the world?” I said out loud.  However, instead of looking for the silence button, I decided that if it was going to randomly sing to me—well, maybe I better listen.

You guessed it.  It was singing a song that one of my girls had downloaded years before on the Mac.  As crazy as this may sound, I am so glad I listened.  The song that my phone began to randomly play was “Only Hope,” written by Switchfoot and performed by MandyMoore.  The lyrics are just what I needed—at just the right moment—right after I’d just asked God to help me.  Here are some of the lyrics:

There’s a song that’s inside of my soul

It’s the one that I’ve tried to write over and

Over again

I’m awake in the infinite cold

But you sing to me over and over and over



So I lay my head back down

And I lift my hands

And pray to be only yours

I pray to be only yours

I know now you’re my only hope


Sing to me the song of the stars

Of your galaxy dancing and laughing

And laughing again

When it feels like my dreams are so far

Sing to me of the plans that you have for

Me over again


So I lay my head back down

And I lift my hands and pray

To be only yours

I pray to be only yours

I pray to be only yours

I know now you’re my only hope


At that moment, my heart turned.  I was still hurting inside, but now I was ready to listen to God, and I was ready to go into the event, to see people, to listen to the messages.  I was ready to hope again.

You can write this off as a crazy coincidence, but it sure felt like God meant for me to hear that message at that exact moment.  That’s what I’m going with.  Oh, and by the way, I got my literary agent that very night.

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