Good Friday morning ...

Of late I have taken to reading novels by John Jakes. If you have ever read him, you know he has a propensity to write lo-o-o-o-ng historical novels, most ending up between 600 and 800 pages in length. His North and South Trilogy, I'm sure, has the record with over 2100 pages total.

Jakes' novels are well-researched, well-written, cleverly weaving fictitious characters into the historical events of the time. He adopts the language. the innuendos, the slang of the period about which he is writing, making sure the reader feels transported back in time to the very events being covered. He sugar-coats nothing, revealing the harsh reality of the time and leaving the reader with a broadened sense of that historical period. He attempts to mirror the realities of the past as he simply tries "to tell what happened."

If you like historical novels ... you will probably appreciate John Jakes ... if you don't mind their length.

But as bleak and harsh and difficult as our history has been, Jakes finds a way to express hope. I find this fascinating because polls from time to time indicate that Americans think we are in a state of decline, that never again will their children and grandchildren live better lives than generations preceding them. To dwell on such polls might quickly depress you. And that's why we always need to keep an historical perspective on life.

There have always been bleak, harsh, difficult times in our history. That's the case for any nation. But at the same time there has always been a flood tide of hope sweeping through. America has always symbolized limitless opportunities. Here, no problem was insurmountable, unconquerable. Here, children and grandchildren would prosper and rise to heights unimaginable to their forebears, some of whom struggled even to make it to our shores. Here was possibility after possibility for anyone with desire, determination and will.

And so, it is still today. Our country, the United States of America, still holds out the flag of opportunity. And though there are warts and scars and even cancer cells within her fabric, she still stands for opportunity, freedom and the privilege of trying. As dark and twisted and uncertain as our time might feel, there is hope ... always hope.

For me, obviously, the ultimate hope comes from above. I cast my hope on things unseen as opposed to what I see and experience here on earth. Faith gives us hope, indeed, is our hope as we await the Second Coming of our true Hope, Jesus, the Christ.

My hope is built on nothing less, Than Jesus' blood and righteousness
On Christ the solid rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand.

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" [Acts 4:12].

Have a great weekend in the Lord ... mindful of our hope in Jesus ...

PR