by Emily Conrad
I initially wrote this post in fall, 2017, years before the COVID-19 pandemic, which is spreading as I complete this update of the post in March of 2020.
Why am I updating and republishing it now? Because I noticed this two-and-a-half-year-old post had begun to draw new views. Having revisited it now myself, I can see why.
As I completed this update, one portion of the post didn’t need to change. The hope itself. The same hope and truth that carried God’s people through 2017 and it’s unique challenges carried us through 2018, 2019, and will carry us through 2020.
God never changes. Jesus is still the answer, as He has always been. God is still as trustworthy and faithful today as He has been since Creation. His people can always rely on Him, and that is why our hope in Him anchors our souls, no matter current events.
The lower hems of my jeans were damp as I first typed this post. They collected dew as I crossed the grass to the flowerbed where I grow morning glories.
I had planted a variety packet of morning glory seeds about three months before. The heart-shaped leaves appeared, and I watched for blooms. The vines grew and grew, lacing up the lattice fence, twirling around the cast iron shepherd’s hook, and seeming destined to take over the world.
But no flowers.
Cue an Internet search to determine if my seeds were duds.
They were not. Morning glories are one of the last flowers to bloom, especially when started from seed. This is a flower you have to wait for.
Eventually, six different colors of blooms shone from the vines on my fence.
Dew soaked into my jeans as I took pictures of each variety of bloom and proceeded inside.
My plan was simple. I would pair the pictures with Bible verses that 1) described God’s love for us, and, 2) mentioned morning. I’d call these verses the Biblical version of a morning glory.
Morning glory Bible verses.
Obviously, such a collection would have to feature the one that mentions how God’s mercies are new every morning.
But when I looked that verse up, the rest of my plan fell away. Not because of what the verse itself said, but because of where I found it.
Morning glories will climb anything. For example, my neighbors plant them at the base of a wire that leads up to a telephone pole. The vines climb halfway to the top, wrapping around that wire like streamers at a birthday party. Whether such a thing is safe, I can’t say, but it’s pretty.
That verse about God’s mercies in the morning is a similar story. It doesn’t grow where I’d expected to find it—in Psalms or maybe Isaiah.
Instead, it grows from the soil of Lamentations. It’s entwined with the scaffolding of disaster the likes of which I’ve never seen and cannot imagine, destruction and war so devastating that mothers are cannibalizing their children.
It’s hard to even type that, but that is where the morning glory grows.
With that realization, my understanding of what constitutes a morning glory Bible verse and, in turn, morning glory faith, shifted.
I was looking for light, feel-good verses.
Instead, I found stunning belief in God’s goodness and love despite terrible circumstances. Faith that is truly in things unseen.
This is the kind of faith I want, the kind of faith we need to navigate life in this world where we’ve been promised we’ll have trouble.
When I first wrote this post, Hurricane Harvey had just caused terrible flooding and a number of fatalities. Someone much closer to the damage than I ended a long post about the needs she saw around her with a verse from Isaiah:
When you pass through the waters, I am with you;
when you pass through the streams, they will not overwhelm you.
Isaiah 43:2a, NET
Her choice to see the devastation and need and yet end with a reminder of God’s faithful provision showcased morning glory faith.
If I’m to face trouble (and I will), may it be with faith like what I see in Lamentations, like what I saw rise in the face of the flood waters.
God’s promises endure, despite the hardships we face. He provides the strength we need. He comforts us and grants us peace the world, with all its pandemics and wars and tragedies, cannot take away.
No matter what we face, may we, with the author of Lamentations, cry out:
The Lord’s loyal kindness never ceases;
his compassions never end.
They are fresh every morning;
your faithfulness is abundant!
“My portion is the Lord,” I have said to myself,
so I will put my hope in him.
Lamentations 3:22-24, NET
No matter how dark the night, how deep the hurt, how devastating the trial, God is trustworthy.
Let’s put our hope, not in doctors or soldiers or governments or finances or anything else the world says we should turn to for rescue, but in the Lord God, who is faithful.
He alone works all things for the good of those who follow Him.
When we choose morning glory faith in the midst of challenging times as the author of Lamentations did, we find shelter not only for our own souls. We also offer it to those around us, and those who come after.
His compassions are new every morning, and His grace is sufficient for whatever the day holds.
An earlier draft of this post was first published on this site, 9/5/2017. Updated 4/1/2020.