There was no hidden sentiment as the world watched the devastating flames consume Paris’ famous Notre Dame Cathedral just this Monday. As the aggressive fires raged for hours, the international outpour of heartache rang louder by the minute. The emotional anguish seemed to reach a head as the iconic spire atop the cathedral tragically collapsed with the roof of this historic landmark.
Religious leaders, celebrities, political figures and millions of everyday people stormed the internet with outcry for prayer to protect the famous building from absolute devastation. Photos poured in of Parisian citizens in tears and in prayer as they watched Notre Dame take on colossal damage. The sight of this 856-year-old iconic landmark was not only a symbol of France’s legacy, but it was also a landmark of faith throughout history and to watch it burn was unnerving. The overwhelming, collective sentiment of loss united our world in an unprecedented way.
Hold the cross high that I might see it through the flames. —Joan of Arc
After 12 long hours, the fire was finally extinguished and firefighters are now working around the clock to account for what was lost, what was spared and what can be salvaged.
The response worldwide to the unexpected tragedy has been profound from individuals recounting their fondest memories of the cathedral to the expression of international solidarity like United States lighting the Empire State building in the colors of the French flag.
Many remain speechless and heartbroken at the speed at which this devastating blow came to Notre Dame. However, it’s in the middle of the ashes we find the heart of the gospel.
Shortly after firefighters entered the Cathedral to account for the damages, they discovered among ashes and rubble that the altar and cross remained completely intact. Here, a perfect demonstration of the promise of the gospel stood. A quote by Joan of Arc echoes this truth: “Hold the cross high that I might see it through the flames.”
It’s in moments of loss, especially unforeseen where we are reminded that hope is not deferred, it’s here. We cannot rely on our circumstances to find the unwavering peace of God. In Luke 24:5-6, an angel of God finds Mary and Mary searching for Jesus in His tomb when He asks: “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen!”
We aren’t to look into a broken, unpredictable and often painful world for hope. We are to turn our eyes to the risen Savior.
The sight of Notre Dame struck a deep chord for what it symbolized to the world. However, we can rejoice that God is found in the center of our devastation. He is not confined within the walls of any building. The veil tore in two and we have the promise of His Holy Spirit forever.
Here are nine helpful Bible verses and passages to reflect on to remain stubborn in hope.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
“Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings, until the disaster has passed.”
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.”
2 Corinthians 5:1
“For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”
“And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.”
“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.'”
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”