Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light.

Matthew 17:1–2

A concrete slab. Why does it make me cry?

Daily I feel as if heavy, wet concrete has been poured all over me—it covers, binds up, and robs my light. Darkness is its atmosphere. My country bows down, not to God the Father and Giver of Light and Life, but to a god of self and money. The newspapers cry out economic woes; a toddler is beaten to death by his own parents. Children are neglected as adults turn selfishly to their own lusts. Teenagers cut themselves out of frustration and a desperate search for relief from their inner turmoil. Sexuality has become a tool of rebellion against our Creator. Depression and anxiety cripple our productivity and steal away our sunshine. Wars, oppression, politics, and tyranny bubble and brew. And of course, drugs, alcohol, and filthy entertainment are offered as relief so that we might endure the oppressive life under the concrete. Hopeless, heavy, wet, oppressive, gray globs of concrete are dumped daily upon us.

No wonder I cry as I walk the city streets.

And then, there it is—a crack in the concrete; a sharp splinter of light and hope. A peek through the barrier of our concrete prison wall; a preview of what our world might be if flipped entirely upside down. It’s radical! It takes my breath away. It is power in its most sublime form. What a miracle!

A small and fragile flower has pushed the mass of concrete out of its way and invaded the city streets. How cheeky of the little beauty. It is an astounding find. I have found a link to the other side of the concrete; hope and joy ride high upon the shoulders of this tiny blossom.

No wonder I cry as I walk the city streets.

I cry because I hear it singing in the face of darkness: “This is my Father’s world!” I hear it in a voice that the world cannot hear—a voice with such power that even the gates of hell cannot prevail against it.

The intensity and immensity of the message pouring through this frail flower illuminates and magnifies the incredible deafness of the world. How can they not hear it? Why do they continue walking around and past me with their weighty and unrelenting steps? Where are they all going, and why? Their scurry is unnecessary—the answer is right here. How incredible that no one stops, and no one seems to hear!

I recall another time when a crack in the concrete opened up. I wasn’t exactly there to see it, but I can read about it anytime I care to open my Bible. Peter, James, and John saw it, and I’m not certain that they cried, but I’m told they were so overcome that they fell with their faces to the ground. One moment, Jesus was standing there with them under the concrete of the darkness of the world—and then there it was. The Father provided a crack in the concrete, and a sharp splinter of light and hope peeked through the barrier of that gray prison wall. It was radical! It was power in its most sublime form. What a miracle!

Jesus glistened.

I’ll bet they cried. I’ll bet any hopelessness they felt about what was going on around them was instantly swished away. I’ll bet the shot of hope they received that day as they gazed upon the supreme glory of the Flower of Heaven kept their faces full of hope and joy for quite some time. Of course, I am aware that it did fade, because not too much longer after that, we read of Peter’s betrayal and subsequent weeping. I wonder how differently the story might have gone if Peter could have held onto the hand of someone already on the other side of the crack. But then, the resurrection hadn’t occurred, and Christ hadn’t gone just yet. We have no right to accuse Peter. Without a hand to hold, we’d have done the same thing.

But Christ has risen and goes before me!

How very important it is to me, as a Christian woman, to persistently gaze at little flowers pushing their way through cracks in the concrete. In my humanity, I am so prone to dwell on the darkness around me and lose sight of my hope. I must constantly remind myself that Someone loved me so much to sacrifice the drops of blood that were required to blast the crack through that concrete and shine His beam of light and hope. I must daily reach into that cleft in the rock and take hold of the hand of the One who broke that wall, who made a way, and who abides on the other side; the One who’s reaching through that crack to me.

No wonder I cry as I look at the little flower—I hear it singing:

This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done.
Jesus who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and heav’n be one
. *

* “This Is My Father’s World,” by Maltbie D. Babcock (1901).

Written by Becky Coursen

Photo by Jackson Hayes