Friday, May 27, 2011

Eternity in Our Hearts

Where do dreams come from? What is fantasy? Everyone wishes that they were someone else, a better someone, a more powerful someone. This is part of the reason we read books, play games, and day-dream at the office. We have dreams for our children. We want them to live out dreams that we have had, experience things of which we were capable but missed along the way out of folly or cowardice. This is why fathers scream at little boys playing t-ball.

What do these things have to do with eternity? Before we can answer that, or think about that, we have to first wonder what an eternity is. Do you think that eternity is simply time extended to infinity? When Solomon wrote, "He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end" (Ecclesiastes 3:11), did he simply mean that man has the ability to think about time extended to infinity?

I think it could be the case that dreams are born from the eternity placed in our hearts. Eternity is not merely time extended into infinity. It is a place where death is no longer allowed to hunt us. When death is banished, and where youth is eternal, dreams can flourish and come true.

Solomon says that eternity is set in our hearts, yet in a way that we cannot find out what God has done and what he is going to do. The eternity we have in our hearts is put there to make us stretch out, to dream, to grasp what could have been, what should have been, and what might be. Our dreams and hopes are stirred by an eternal longing for something better: for ourselves, for our children, and for our friends.

The whisper of eternity blows through our dreams. We dream of being stronger, smarter, and more attractive. We want to be a hero. We want to slay the dragon. We want to be admired. We want this for our children. The love that we have for them is a desperate kind of love, and this too is born from eternity.

The naturalist may say that we are only evolved protozoa, but when love springs to life and bonds them to a child, they will fight and die for their dreams for their children. Is this mere chemical, evolutionary bonding? Or is it that innate whispering that only the parent of the child really hears, that whisper that affirms that this child is special, not simply because he is yours, but because he simply is. Every parent knows that his child is special, that his child is the best, this is not mere conceit: it is the gift of eternity, the gift of significance, the fragrance of love on the wind of eternity that promises more than we now see and hear.

Some day, when death is gone, we will have time to become what we should be. God has not withheld His plan from us because He is cruel; He has withheld it so we may dream dreams that only eternity can deliver (1 Corinthians 2:6-10).

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Folly of Works Based Righteousness

One of the best rebukes I ever received came from a beloved friend and former Marine. He and I were shopping at K-Mart and, amongst the other assorted goodies that I had come to buy, I purchased an extension cord. As I checked out, I had the feeling that something wasn't quite right. It seemed that I was getting out of there just a bit too cheaply. As I walked towards the car, I examined the contents of my bag versus the receipt I had received. Sure enough, the clerk did not charge me for the extension cord.

I hurried myself back into the store and told the cashier that they had forgotten to charge me for the cord, and I asked to pay for it. The clerk shrugged, and acted like I was being a bother. I should have accepted my good fortune and moved on. I could not do that, I explained, as that would be stealing.

I got back to the vehicle after the exchange, and my friend asked me what had taken so long. Quite proud of myself, I quickly explained how I had to return to pay for the extension cord, despite the protest of the clerk. He looked at me with a bit of disdain and said, "Well, don't get proud of it. You only did what you should have done." I was a bit ruffled. I was seeking praise for a good deed, not a rebuke for pride.

Of course, the problem is that he was exactly right. I only did what I should have done. A person does not deserve praise for doing what is required. This is how people, even Christians, misunderstand the law of God. We know that God says that we should not steal, or covet, or cheat on our spouse, or lie. We congratulate ourselves when we avoid these no-no's, and we think that we have accomplished something. Such self-righteous congratulation is the ultimate proof of our moral stupidity.

God has other laws in the Bible. For example, God tells his people not to have sex with animals, or one's mother, or one's sister. I do not know anyone, thankfully, who comes to the end of the day and writes in their journal, "Dear journal, I was exceptionally righteous today. I did not lay with a goat, my sister, my brother, or any other relative."

I know that these are extreme and somewhat offensive examples for our tastes. So let us return to the easier commands. How about not lying and stealing? Should a man have to be told not to lie or steal? And if he refrains himself from lying and stealing, does he deserve a congratulations? If a man refrains from beating his wife, should we pat him on the back?

The innate desire to turn the law of God into a check list for righteousness is why we have such trouble understanding Jesus' sermon on the mount in Matthew 5. Jesus tells us there that he did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. Then he informs us that not only should we not murder, but if you call your brother a fool you are in danger of hell. He goes on to say that committing adultery isn't just bad, it is bad when you lust after a woman with lustful intent. Jesus is saying that the law isn't a checklist, it is a principle. The law is given to show us what we should be like, and the fact that we have contrary desires indicates that something is wrong with us.

All the law of God flows from two principles: Love God; love your neighbor. Any violation of God's law comes because our love of God and neighbor is defective. So if a man refrains from adultery, thievery, and lying...big deal! He's only doing what a man ought to do. If every man agrees that these things are wrong, then refraining from them does not merit reward. And if everyman agrees with these things in principle, what shall become of the man who violates them?

This is why the law kills but cannot heal. This is why salvation from sin, which is what we call law-breaking, must come from somewhere other than the simple resolve to keep laws everyone regularly breaks.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Scandal of Christianity

Harold Camping is right about at least one thing: according to the Scriptures, Jesus is going to return again. I hate to have to agree with someone who so recently made an utter fool of himself and harmed many through his false teachings, but let us be sure to put the scandal in perspective and in the right place.

The scandalous teaching of Harold Camping is that, among other things, he believed/believes that he can tell us what day Jesus is returning. This is plainly un-biblical, as it has been pointed out many times, Jesus said, "But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only" (Matthew 24:36). That should have been enough to end the prediction and the hub-bub surrounding Camping's harmful teaching.

Having said that, let us be careful in our observation of what is being ridiculed. It isn't simply that Camping put a date to the "rapture", it is the fact that Christians believe that a God-man is going to "come down from the sky" and "lift the faithful into the sky to be with him." How ridiculous does that sound? What is more ridiculous to an unbeliever? That Camping put a date to our heavenly flight, or that we believe a God-man is going to come to save the faithful by rapturing them before he tosses fire onto the heads of the infidel?

I am writing as I would think a non-Christian might phrase our apparently absurd beliefs. We do believe this, right? After all, Paul wrote, "For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). We believe that dead people are going to come out of the grave, and that Christians will fly into the air to meet the God-man as he descends from that other-worldly place called heaven. Do you see, dear Christian, why atheists think we are totally insane and/or extremely gullible?

Let's give them more ammo, shall we? We believe that God created the world, out of nothing, in six days. At least, that is what Genesis One seems to plainly say without linguistic manipulation that would make a politician proud. We also believe in a global, world-wide flood, that a guy named Noah packed all the animals on the ark two-by-two, that Israel walked across the Red Sea as the waters parted, and that the man named Jesus of Nazareth died substitutionally for our sins on a cross and then came back from the dead three days later.

So yes, Harold Camping is a false teacher to be soundly denounced. However, Christianity is very much at odds with a naturalistic, evolutionary world-view. We are a people who believe in the super-natural and in miracles. We believe in a God-man. We believe in good and evil and an objective morality. To those outside the faith, this would be laughable if it weren't so serious. And sometimes, they laugh anyway. Peter wrote that they would say, "Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation" (2 Peter 3:4).

I am not writing these things in order to ridicule people who do not believe in Christianity. I am writing this for Christians who have grown comfortable in their beliefs because they have surrounded themselves with people who think like they do. Christianity is radical, and it looks like madness to those outside the faith. We ought to know that, and we ought to be able to explain why Christianity actually explains the universe better than closed naturalism does. If we do not understand the challenges we face, then we certainly will not be equipped to meet the challenge.

So think about the scandal of Christianity, Christian, and prepare yourself to make a reasonable defense of the hope that you have.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

John Jay Study Reveals Why Priests Abused Boys

The Roman Catholic Church commissioned a study to find out why some priests sexually abused young boys in their pastoral care. There are so many things that one could say in observation to this. First, I find it fascinating that when it comes to sin, any form of sin, the "church" would have to commission an outside study to figure out why it is happening. Seriously?

But even more jaw-dropping than this is the conclusion the study came to. Here it is...are you ready? I quote:
The study by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York instead said that the problem was largely the result of poor seminary training and insufficient emotional support for men ordained in the 1940s and 1950s, who were not able to withstand the social upheaval they confronted as pastors in the 1960's

Ahh..the social upheaval of the 1960's caught the church unprepared to deal with pedophiles and sexual perverts. I had no idea that this was something that only occurred in the 1960's. The Roman Catholic Church, who boasts that she is the only true church on earth, has not experienced anything that would prepare her to deal with this type of thing.

I want to address the notion that clerical celebacy had nothing to do with priests molesting children. I admit that when I was single, I believe child molestation to be a heinous crime, and that my celebacy never, ever led me to think about molesting a child. But this study isn't simply about the fact that singleness does not necessarily lead to pedophilia. It is a statement about how it was handled.

I said that I thought child molestation was heinous when I was single. Now, I am a father of two children. It makes a difference. A man who has children does not need a study to figure out how to deal with a pervert who is preying on children. A father of two does not have to call his superiors and have a hand-wringing session over what to do with with a pervert who is molesting children in his care. A father of two does not need to have "seminary training" to learn how to be careful enough to spot a person who stalks the young. When a pervert is discovered, a father of two does not need a study to determine if this is caused by same-sex attraction or celebacy.

This crime has been perpetrated in all religions, and it has been committed in homes by trusted friends and loved ones. The church ought to have the answer as to why this happens. The church ought to know better. The church is a place of refuge from this wicked world. If the church is having to commission studies on why this is happening, she might as well just start putting on pipe organ shows and bring in the dancing monkeys.

This study is a farce and a shame. I am sorry that it has come to this.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Stephen Hawking is a Computer

At least, I am deluded, according to Stephen Hawking. If you are interested in a philosophical discussion of existence and purpose, you should go and read this brief interview of the renowned physicist, Stephen Hawking. I want to look at a few quotes in that article as food for thought, to see if people really want to go down the road that Hawking goes down.

In 2010, Hawking said, in essence, that science will win out over religion because science works. Ponder that for a moment. First, it is clear that Hawking believes that science and religion in general are at odds with one another. What is the conflict that he perceives? That religion cannot cure cancer or diabetes? That religion cannot explain the origins of life as well as science? The problem, as I see it, is Hawking is trying to do with science what it cannot possibly do, and that is science cannot lay the foundation for its own work.

Here is what I mean by that. Why do we have medicine? Medicine is a science. New medications are made by meticulous scientific research and study. Surely, there is hardly anything religious about studying protein chains, control groups, and chemical reactions at the cellular level, is there? Christianity cannot possibly hope to help us with how it is that the drug in Nexium might help with H. pylori bacteria that cause peptic ulcers, can it?

It certainly can and does. The reason that people study medicine is because they see an intrinsic value in life. Christians stayed behind to tend to plague victims because they believed that man's dignity rested in his being made in God's image. So Christians founded hospitals and began to research treatments because they believed in God. Religion was the foundation for the science of medical study.

It cannot be denied that much research in science is now motivated, perhaps, by greed over the concern for the sick. That is, the dollar drives science, not a benevolence born from the belief that God's image resides in man. I will grant that. However, if you want to say that pursuing medical cures for greedy gain is bad, then you are right back into religion again, aren't you? Consider another quote from Hawking,
I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.

The human being, in Hawking's man, is a product of chance. If human beings are really only like computers, then how can we accuse men of greed? Do you think that your computer is greedy? Isn't "greed" just a survival concept made up by the weak to keep the strong from getting their stuff?

Consider this quote, I think it is the most mind-boggling of anything that Hawking says, "Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to ... set the Universe going.", the eternal law of gravity existed when there was nothing? Does that sound like science to you? How can something come from absolutely nothing? What was making the gravity in "space"? Isn't space something rather than nothing? Is this any more believable than invoking God?

This is precisely why Hawking thinks that science and religion are in conflict. Science is Hawking's religion. It is his god. Hawking sounds like a television, flim-flam evangelist trying to get us to align ourselves with his personal religion. He says, "There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark." See! The reason that people are religious is because they are afraid of the dark! If we were brave, we would embrace the nihilism that consumes everything.

The problem is that we don't embrace religion just because we are afraid of the dark. We embrace Jesus Christ because darkness exists. Evil is real. The fact that there is a God and a judgment does not make us cowards. It can, however, give us a reason to be a scientist, something that Hawking's religion utterly fails to do.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

King Solomon on Facebook and Twitter

Social media is both a blessing and curse. The advent of Facebook, Twitter, and the rise of blogging has led to much happiness for me and for others. I have been able to share my thoughts with friends, reconnect with old buddies, and look at pictures of their families. I have greatly enjoyed writing on my blog, receiving feedback from others, and I have a hard time imagining life without email.

But as with all technology, there are draw backs. After all, a glass bottle can be used to hold Coca-Cola or to knock a man in the head. A person that uses a knife must take care lest they cut themselves with it. So while social media are useful for relationships and education, they can also be a source of pain.

I have read stories of people who have lost their jobs due to posts on the internet about how they hate their jobs or co-workers. I have known of relationships damaged by a careless 'tweet' or Facebook update. While it should be obvious that we ought to be wise in what we put up for the world to see, the fact is that no one is always wise.

Consider then, this word from Solomon, "Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you have yourself cursed others" (Ecclesiastes 7:21-22). Many employers need to take this to heart, as do the owners of professional sports teams, and the head coaches of football programs.

If you are a person who has authority over others, and if you decide to "friend" or "follow" those over whom you have authority, then go into that knowing that you may be insulted by them. This is part of the folly of being human. We say things in moments of frustration that we regret. We all talk about aspects of our job that we hate or things about co-workers that annoy us. Mostly, we do this behind the back of others. But we do not always intend harm of it, and we rarely weigh the consequences of our words in such matters. Social media makes this type of foolish talk much easier to be "overheard."

So what should employers do when they look on Facebook and see a worker talking about how bad their job stinks or how cruel their boss is? Solomon says, "Ignore it, dude. You do the same thing." Consider this, "Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense" (Proverbs 19:11). Let it go. I roll my eyes when I hear of cases where student-athletes are banned from twitter over an insult to the coach, or when an employee is fired by griping about a surly boss.

What if the insult is grievous or harmful to the company or team morale? Then a visit, a personal visit might be in order. Sit down with the offender and say, "Look friend/employee/student, I know you are frustrated, but be wise with your words. They can hurt others. I saw what you put up on Facebook. I understand what you wrote, but remember that you represent others before you tweet or update your status, okay?"

Wouldn't everyone want a boss/friend/coach like that? So strive to be that person. Overlook offense, and remember that others are human, just like you.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Osama bin Laden: Justice Served?

There are several things that I would like to say about the death of Osama Bin Laden. I have found the reaction of the public to be interesting and even a bit upsetting at times. I also find in my own heart that there is a tension to how I actually feel about his death and how I think I should feel about his death.

I have read, many times, that a Christian should not rejoice over the death of the wicked, in this case Osama Bin Laden, but rather we should rejoice that justice has been done. I want to question part of that statement. I question whether or not justice was done by shooting Bin Laden in the head.

Christians ought to be wiser when they speak about things like this. Surely, the mere death of this wicked man did not bring true justice. This man is responsible for the murders of thousands of people, and he was a catalyst for war, bigotry, and hate all over the globe. His nefarious plans put the entire Western world under a blanket of fear that has covered all, including Muslims. His death rectified none of this.

The reason that Christians ought to be wise when they speak of 'justice' is because, when they speak of it, they mean something different than the culture at large. At least, in the Christian idea of justice, there is much more packed into that concept than 'ceasing to exist'. Christians believe in a judgment. We believe that every man must give an account before his Maker for all the works that he has done, and that at this judgment, justice will be served.

For someone who is agnostic, atheist, or simply undecided, this is an avenue of thought that they might consider exploring if Christians were educated enough to speak of it. If there is no God, then there is no judgment. Thus, true justice is unobtainable. Allow me to illustrate:

Let's say that, tomorrow, as I leave the office, a masked man demands my wallet at gun point. Out of fear for my life, I hand over my wallet. Unsatisfied with the wallet, the robber decides to beat me and leave me for dead. In the end, I recover and the criminal is caught. He is forced by the justice system to repay me seven-fold for what he took, and he even apologizes for the incident. Is justice served? Who decides? Is justice really served when I still get panic attacks when I leave the office, or when I am approached by a stranger? Can true justice take that away? How much more unsatisfactory is 'justice' when I murderer is simply put to death? Does that really make the families of murder victims feels that real justice is served?

Justice was not served when Osama bin Laden was shot to death. If we are not careful, we put government in the place of God when we say this. The government is ordained of God to maintain order and to meet out justice, as we know it, here in this world. But government is only a servant of God. Government, in the case of bin Laden, served as a sort of bailiff that ushered him into the presence of the only Judge who can actually dispense justice. For now, bin Laden is awaiting that final judgment. Rest assured, his wait is not pleasant, but the final verdict yet remains.

So Christian, as you think about the death of wicked men and about the concept of justice, be careful how you speak. Do not attribute final justice to the barrel of a gun, but rather, to God alone. The Christian idea of justice is both rich and soul-satisfying, do not miss an opportunity to speak about it to those who may never have heard of it before.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

The Selfish Quest for Holiness?

Is it possible to seek holiness in a selfish way? If one does seek holiness for a totally selfish reason, will it necessarily abort the effort? I want to say that one can certainly seek sanctification for selfish reasons, that was are not sanctified for self only, and that even if we seek holiness for a selfish reason, it may not necessarily ruin the pursuit.

When I say that one is seeking holiness or sanctification, I mean that one is seeking to become more like God would have us be. We often say that someone is "godly", and by that we generally mean that they remind us of what God would have us be, or even that this person reminds us of what we know of God. Sometimes, I believe we think that becoming holy, sanctified, godly, or Christ-like means becoming more like God, and this is true. However, there are ways in which we cannot be like God, and we were never meant to be God at all, but rather servants of God who seek to exalt God.

This is precisely part of the process of becoming holy. It is finding out, by God's grace, the places in our hearts where we are seeking to act like God when we shouldn't, and when we aren't being like God when we should. Then, after becoming painfully aware of our failures in both areas, we seek for God to change us for the better in both categories so that we don't have to try and be godly. That is, we want it to be our natural character.

Here is how we might seek holiness selfishly. A man might, for example, read in the book of Ephesians that a man is to be the head of his wife, and that wives ought to submit to their husbands. Armed with this revelation and determined to be godly, he sets off to become the boss of his house, to wear the pants, and gets busy trying to rule his wife and home. To this end, he might even force his wife to listen to him pray for her, have patronizing "family Bible studies", and generally be a very foolish man in all of his attempts to get her to knuckle under to his manliness. He may become dismayed that his wife seems resistant to his leadership, and even seems to have grown resentful of his person.

Now, this fellow might imagine that his wife is resistant because she is recalcitrant. Or, by God's grace, he may realize that he has been an utter buffoon, has completely botched his attempts to lead in a Christ-like manner, and may heartily seek the Lord's forgiveness and that of his wife. She might even grant it, and Christ certainly will. As he reflects upon his stupid behavior, he may even be sickened by it. His wife, no doubt, will be delighted. He will not be trying at all to quit being a jerk. He is genuinely changed because God, by His grace, has shown him what an idiot he is.

And so, his seeking to be a good leader in his home has resulted in him finally becoming a good leader, even though he began as an imbecile. This epiphany came to me, not only by being an idiot at home, but also through pastoral duties. There was a time when I was impressed with my own self and my gifts of elocution. But as I began to listen to my own sermons, a terrible sense of my own ridiculousness began to overwhelm me. Not only that, people sometimes repeated things I had said, and this frightened me greatly. So, I began to pray that God would somehow, someway, bless me to stop being an idiot preacher, and for the sake of His beloved flock, not for the sake of the jackanape in the pulpit, would he please, please, please bless the sermon that His sheep would live and not die. As for myself, I would be content to die, or landscape, if it meant the growth of his people who He had taught me to love. Then, by God's grace, I think I began to be a better preacher and pastor.

So yes, I am convinced that we often set out to become holy for purely selfish reasons, and we often execute our intentions with fleshly means to our great shame. Yet, God uses it all for our good, and he molds us by our own folly. He does this because, in the end, he is sanctifying us, not for ourselves only, but for Himself and for His glory.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

On Suffering and Evil

In the wake of massive damage and loss of life here in Alabama, I am reminded again of the problem of evil and the problem of suffering. Tornadoes, death, and suffering are a kind of message to all of us, whether we are a Christian or an atheist. They say something about the world in which we live, and if we believe in God they must say something about the God we believe in. Regardless of where we are theologically, disaster and calamity dig deep into our hearts and root up age old questions and quandaries.

There are those, I'm sure, who are convinced atheists due to scientific reason alone. They have been convinced that logic alone should drive everyone to see that there is no God or gods, and that our belief in such is simply what drives us to behave for the propagation of the species. Death by tornado, or famine, or drought, is a random process exactly like the randomness that produced life in the first place. You cannot explain randomness in a big picture way; it simply is. We feel the loss, but even these emotions come from the need to self-preserve. It is natural, and we must cope the best way we know how.

I suspect, however, that at least as many people are atheist and agnostic because of what disaster would imply about a God or a group of gods who would supposedly rule over this world. If there is an omnipotent God who is good, why are children dying of cancer? Why are people starving? From the data, one might well reason that such a God is either not omnipotent or not good. And so goes the old quip about what the atheist really believes, "There is no God, and I hate Him."

I am a convinced Theist, and I believe that there is one God who is both omnipotent and good. I am aware, painfully aware, that there is much suffering in this world. Suffering marks us all. I know that pain and suffering can pull a veil over the eyes with regard to spiritual things, especially regarding an omnipotent God who loves and is good. Pain and suffering are like a stormy night at sea, all stars are obscured, navigation is not possible, and sometimes the best a man can do is batten down the hatches and hope for daylight.

I feel as if unbelief is a kind of blindfold that can ruin a man. It will embitter his soul, and it blinds him from any hope and dooms him to a sort of pessimism that cannot be hidden or squelched. It breeds cynicism. He may be able to see a crack of light from under the veil, just enough to keep his feet moving forward, but it prevents him from seeing that there is, indeed, a real hope and a big picture. This is why, at best, such a man would see me as a naive optimist, or perhaps a weak fool who cannot embrace the reality of this world and so I must embrace fairy tales to survive.

Somehow, it is my prayer that despite the input of pain and suffering, I can patiently, seriously, and steadfastly point to a hope that can bring peace. I am not seeking to give perfect understanding, that is naive. But I am seeking to point to a light in the darkness, a guiding star in the storm.

Some would think it cruel to tell a person who is suffering that God is good, and indeed, it may be presented in such a way. But I think it cruel not to give hope to a man drowning in despair. If there is an empty tomb, if there is a God who resurrects the dead, if there is a God who alone can bring perfect justice, if there is a God who fashioned, formed, and sustains the earth, if there is an all-wise, all-knowing, all-powerful God who strikes and heals, who brings down and lifts up, who calms the sea and causes it to rage, then I ought to say so. Pain is real, and it is terrible. But the pain that bring darkness can also bring clarity. As the Puritans said, the same sun that melts the ice hardens the clay.

When I encounter suffering, as I am bound to in the next few weeks, I want to start with the grave of Jesus of Nazareth. I don't want to be cliche, I don't want to be Polyanna, I want to be grave yard serious. Is the tomb empty, or isn't it? If it isn't, then I despair and embrace the darkness that must swallow all. But if it is, if that man Jesus really did shake the earth and rise from the grave, then there is a hope that beats back the darkness, and a dawn that calms the storm.