Hope When the World is Falling Apart

Last week little E and I walked into our favorite thrift shop run by Olivia, a single mother who loves people and puppies.  Olivia, gloves elbow high, mask on, standing amidst the messy mound of dusty frames and chipped treasures, greeted us, “Hello! E! It’s good to see you!”  E flashed a smile and dashed to pet the puppy sleeping in his bed, while Olivia and I stood in front of the tiny TV and the unfolding story in DC. I asked, “How are you doing?” and she replied, “Why can’t we disagree without all this hate and disparity? What’s gone wrong with humanity?”

Meanwhile, across town at Costco, the hubby stopped for samples from Susie and listened as she reflected on the state of her relationship with her grandkids and all that’s wrong in the world, till she asked him serious, “Just where do we go from here?”

What’s gone wrong with humanity and just where do we go from here?

When leaders lead for the sake of their own significance, and we the people, trapped in insecurity and the desire for the comfortable life, simply fall in line, the fragile threads that hold a life—a community, a church, a country—grow brittle. Then the fires of circumstance—riots, racial tensions, sickness, anger, false religion masked as true—eventually burn those fragile threads to ash, unraveling the life we thought we knew.

As the chaos swirls around me and my family, I’ve found my middle-aged self longing for wisdom from my mom and dad. But I don’t have parents to turn to. The threads that once held our parent-child relationship together—co-dependence, narcissistic abuse, fear of abandonment, fake spirituality—snapped years ago, casting us apart. And these days much of the American Church looks and acts just like my family—unmoored from the Christ it claims to serve, scrambling to hold onto followers, money, security, image, and the praise of men no matter the cost, it grows weak and shallow.

So where do you turn when you feel weak and abandoned by God, church, and family?  

Recently, wishing I could call up a supportive dad or mom, distracting myself by browsing through musty books in an antique store, I unearthed an 1897 theology book, corners broken, cover barely hanging on—curious, I opened it. Inside the front cover these words dated 1953 scrawled across the page:

“Only one life to live, twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.’’

I paged through the book, uncovering newspaper clippings and notes tucked between chapters on sin, salvation, and unity of believers, spanning WW1, the great depression, WW2, personal loves and losses, spiritual wrestling and pain. I stood there, humbled and thankful for this crumbling testimony to what anchored Christian family in the past and what anchors us still—Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Charles Studd, the man who penned, “Only what’s done for Christ will last,” was a successful, wealthy, educated Brit at the turn of the century, but when his younger brother, George, became seriously ill, Charles wondered–“What is all the fame and flattery worth … when a man comes to face eternity?” He then left his athletic career for mission work in China and then Africa, devoting his life to “run a rescue shop a yard from hell” rather than hunker down and “live within the sound of church or chapel bell.” Years later, with a wife and four daughters of his own, he gave away a large inheritance to those in need because only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only One Life

Two little lines I heard one day,

Traveling along life’s busy way,

Bringing conviction to my heart,

And from my mind would not depart:

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,

Soon will its fleeting hours be done;

Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,

And stand before His Judgement seat,

Only one life,’ twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice,

Gently pleads for a better choice

Bidding me selfish aims to leave,

And to God’s holy will to cleave;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years,

Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;

Each with its clays I must fulfill,

living for self or in His will;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore,

When Satan would a victory score;

When self would seek to have its way,

Then help me Lord with joy to say;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep,

In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;

Faithful and true what e’er the strife,

Pleasing Thee in my daily life;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn,

And from the world now let me turn;

Living for Thee, and Thee alone,

Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,

Now let me say, “Thy will be done”;

And when at last I’ll hear the call,

I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

C.T. Studd

Becca

One thought on “Hope When the World is Falling Apart

  1. Maria says:

    “Only what’s done for Christ will last”
    Thank you, Becca for reminding us of this beautiful truth and especially at such a crazy time in the life of our country.
    💕🙏

    Liked by 1 person

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