T.S. Eliot wrote,
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre-
To be redeemed from fire by fire.
Two kinds of fire. One consuming. We name it "despair." This fire burns out into emptiness. Another fire purifies. This is "hope." This fire burns on, it burns eternal. We have a memory of eternity. God put it in our hearts, but it was buried deep by sin. It is a hope now hidden. We live today in the tangible moment, consumed in pleasure and power and passion. But moments don't last.
These are the two fires: one momentary, consuming. The other eternal, unseen.
Job discovered that hope is a gift found in suffering. Wrestling with despair, he suddenly explodes, "For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth!!" (Job 19:25). He had opened the gift. In the middle of a fire that was consuming him, he found the fire that saves.
T.S. Eliot's epitaph, his own words, "In my beginning is my end. ...In my end is my beginning." Apart from Jesus, all of life points at an ending. A bad one, actually. Despair. Open the gift of salvation, the end is no longer ominous, but the beginning of eternity. "My redeemer lives! I know it!!"
My Father, my Creator, my Sustainer, my Ever-Present Help in Time of Trouble, my Joy, my Life, my Passion, my Love. May the desire for you consume me.
I seek first your kingdom, your way of life, your righteousness. I have confidence that everything else is best placed in your hands.
Thank you for your Son, Jesus Christ, my Savior, my Hope.