…the parched land shall become a pool, and the thirsty lands springs of water…(Isaiah 35:7)

And hope renewed

By Eric Chaffey


I wrote this about an event happened a few months ago. But as I think about it, the ideas of persevering and enduring to the end as well as finding hope are still relevant. We live in a world where we have to work hard and sweat and toil, and sometimes it seems the fruit of our labors are merely pipe dreams that we may never see. But they are real. Sometimes it takes more hard work to get to them.

I had as the theme of my Senior Recital a line from William Blake’s Jerusalem. “I will not cease from mental fight, nor shall my sword sleep in my hand. Till we have built Jerusalem in England’s green and pleasant land.” It was in a sense my mantra the last year in school and helped me to stay on track. Today that idea was brought again to mind. Some things that can seem overwhelming make building Jerusalem very hard.

I’ve had kind of a tough few days with my own health and today I had to take care of things for my mother. It required eight phone calls to find an appropriate doctor. I found one in Vacaville, which is about halfway between Sacramento and Oakland. He wrote out the prescription needed and sent it electronically to the pharmacy. Unfortunately the pharmacy in question didn’t have the needed medication, which my mother had been without for three days and according to them would have to be ordered and not arrive until Monday. They didn’t seem terribly helpful or understanding. So after another seventeen phone calls (i kid you not) to different pharmacies I finally found one that had the needed medication which required a 25 minute drive in the opposite direction. As I was driving to the pharmacy and feeling kind of defeated the lines from William Blake came to mind.

The realization came to me that I wasn’t defeated. I hadn’t given up. I had a tough time but stuck it out getting help for my own problem. I stuck with it until I got what was needed for my mother. I also came to the realization that although the temptations and trials of the last week have been downright scary and at times overwhelming I didn’t give into the temptation to drink. Nor did I give in to the desperation and loneliness and violate the covenants I’ve made with Heavenly Father in other aspects of my life. As I’m thinking about it now, I’m realizing that there are lots of people praying for me. Those loves and prayers make a huge difference and I think that helped me keep my cool.

Building Jerusalem is something that we are doing all the time and it won’t be done until we rest in the arms of our Lord. Sometimes, building Jerusalem is punctuated by beautiful stained glass, graceful arches, and steeples that reach toward heaven.  Yes I proudly admit I’m a sucker for English church architecture:). Sometimes building Jerusalem working in the muck, grime and fertilizer. But the fertilizer as disgusting as it is has a purpose and when we step back from the work we realize that slogging through this stuff adds mortar to the foundation. And it also makes the flowers grow.

So as I was being instructed by the spirit on the drive to the pharmacy tonight and realizing that I’m maybe not as bad off as I think I am. The words of another favorite hymn came to mind which were written much more recently on the subject of Christ’s birth. The lonely and weariness of Bethlehem gives way to the joy and light that hails the birth of the savior.

The stars are cold at Bethlehem,

No warmth for those beneath the skies.

Yet here the radiant angels fly,

And hope burns anew a fiery gem.

The heart is tired at Bethlehem,

No human dream unbroken stands.

Yet here Christ comes to mortal men,

And hope renewed cries out, Amen!

2 people like this post.

3 Responses to “And hope renewed”

  1. Rex Goode said:

    Eric, that is beautiful and inspiring. Thanks!

  2. Eric Chaffey said:

    Thanks Rex!

  3. Jeff Nelson said:

    I thank you also Eric. During the last month my brother, whom I have only know for 2 years, has passed away. One son is totally back into his drug addiction. One of our cars died. We have more money going out than coming in. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer but I am completely cured.

    These things will pass. They always do. I do look at these things as an opportunity to become a better person and become closer to the Lord.

    And yes I am a total sucker for ancient architecture also. Especially the old cathedrals and castles. I have been in some of them and they are truely awe inspiring.


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