“Overflow with Hope” Devotional | March 30

Each Monday during this season of remote living and learning, the Chapel Office is sharing a devotional written by a member of the Gordon community.

Trust in Times of Trouble
By Esther Darko ’20

“If you say, ‘The LORD is my refuge,’
     and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

‘Because he loves me,’ says the LORD, ‘I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.’”

—Psalm 91:9-16

Two weeks ago, I listened as Psalm 91 was read and repeated by Bahamians who had lost everything in Hurricane Dorian about six months prior. Our team from Gordon had arrived the day before and the destruction around us was still newly sobering. Many trees came down in the storm and those that remained standing had no foliage and were permanently tilted from the wind. Boats that had been swept inland remained on the side of the road, far from the ocean, and the majority of the buildings we passed had obvious storm damage. Second and third stories lay next to what remained of the houses, roofs were hundreds of feet away from the buildings they used to cover, and in some cases, the only indication that someone had once lived there was the cement slab of a foundation. No one on the island was unaffected.

Before service began, we walked through the “new church”—a beautiful sanctuary that had been destroyed in the storm. The wind had blown off parts of the roof, so rainwater from the previous day covered the formerly tiled floor. The water line went as high as the balcony. It was a lot to try to take in, but this was the reality for most people who lived on the island.

I walked into service, now held in the adjacent “old church,” feeling overwhelmed. There was so much to do and so little that could be accomplished within a week. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I walked into service, but I was unprepared for the faith, hope and trust in God that the Bahamians who had returned to the island demonstrated.

One thing that was clearly evident in the entire service was that the congregation knew God’s Word. They lived and breathed it and, more importantly, believed it. While I heard Psalm 91 read and wondered how these people could believe so strongly that God had not allowed harm to overtake them or disaster to come near their tent, they heard the same passage and recognized that God had spared their lives in the storm and that he who had been faithful would always be. Instead of wondering why they had lost family members, friends, homes and livelihoods, they gave thanks that God had spared them and had a purpose still for their lives.

This hope, trust and faith in God in no way minimizes the suffering these people have gone through. But as they grieve, rebuild and find a new normal—and as we grieve and rebuild with them—it is in light of a faithful God who has never forsaken them.

That Sunday, a few dozen Bahamians reminded me that the Lord is our refuge, not just in the midst of the storm, but in the chaos and questions that follow afterward. Their faith in the face of devastation is inspiring.

When our team came back to Gordon a little more than two weeks ago, we returned to our own disruption of normal. As we all process the state of the world, may we too do it in the context of faith, trust and hope in God. We can grieve the losses caused by this pandemic and we can struggle to rebuild a routine and find a new normal, but let’s do this still saying, “[the LORD] is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust” (Psalm 91:2).

Looking for some encouragement during these uncertain times?
The Gordon worship teams have curated Spotify playlists full of hopeful and uplifting worship songs for the Gordon community.