Wednesday, May 5, 2010


 A reflection from Cynthia Ruchti

In a contest many years ago—perfect attendance, memorized verses of Scripture, Bible quizzing, bring-a-friend-to-kids-club, or something—I won a milky white cross with a purple satin tassel attached to the top. Instructions that came with the gift said to hold it close to an incandescent bulb for a few minutes, then turn out all the lights and watch what would happen.

The cross glowed in the dark! To my little girl brain, that seemed magical, wondrous, awe-inspiring. The darker the room, the brighter the piece of plastic glowed…as long as I’d held it near the light source long enough and hadn’t grown too impatient.

When I landed on the tagline for my novels—Hope-that-glows-in-the-dark—I settled into it as comfortably as if it were my favorite pillow. I write about hope that shows up best against a dark backdrop. And isn’t that often its most striking display?

Fireworks against a midday sky? Not nearly as spectacular as they are against inky black. How remarkable is a fireworks display when the sun is shining?

And how pale the hope if it hasn’t spent long in the Light.

As a writer, I find that principle demonstrated throughout the writing and publishing process. Hope is what I need. Hope is what God offers. But it seems pale when viewed against a bleached-white sky. Hope’s outline is clearer, though, when it contrasts with the dark backdrop of yet another rejection, a harsh critique, or a disappointment about a project dear to a writer’s heart. That’s when it’s most remarkable for a writer to cling to hope.

In the discussion pages for my new release—They Almost Always Come Home—I wrote, “At times like that, God’s Word becomes our umbilical cord, pumping pulses of hope until rescue arrives.”

As it was with that plastic cross, though, hope’s glow fades if not exposed to the light. The Light.

                                   waiting, waiting, waiting—at every step in the process (and the journey of my life)

I’m reminding myself to hold hope close to the Light so it glows brightly against the dark backdrop of the inevitable disappointments.

In Hebrews 10:23 (Holman Bible), we’re given this reassurance: “Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”

In my current release—They Almost Always Come Home—each of the characters face their own issues with fading hope. How did it grow so faint? Is there a point at which hope is a foolish pursuit better abandoned? In friendship? In families? In faith?

The video trailer for the book expresses it this way, giving prospective readers a peek into main character Libby’s longing.

“How can I leave him if I can’t find him? He was supposed to go fishing. He was supposed to come home. And I was supposed to care. Maybe he couldn’t find a place to land on the unforgiving shoreline of my heart. Do I want my marriage restored…even if he never comes home?”

Libby clings to hope like a little girl might cling to a glow-in-the-dark cross in a pitch-black closet. Readers who join her on the journey of retracing her husband’s paddle strokes through the wilderness that didn’t give him back will watch hope’s glow rise and wane.

As a little girl, I knew how to make that plastic cross glow brighter. After writing Libby’s story, it’s all the more clear. May my readers find that true as well.

They Almost Always Come Home released May 1, 2010 from Abingdon Press. It is available wherever books are sold and through,,…

Thank you for spending these moments with me. Please connect with me through my website: or so we can keep the conversation going.

And for now, we'd appreciate hearing from you right here at A Pen for Your Thoughts.  We'd like to be able to draw your name in a few days to win a copy of Cynthia's new book. When you write in, be sure to include your email address. And thank you so much. 



  1. Hope to me today is to work through childhood issues so I can be closer to the Lord and others.

    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

  2. This message on hope means a lot to me today. My hope today is in the importance of that family nucleus in the Lord. When there is a problem, I think of what a person would do to try to make it right. It gives me hope to know in the Lord all things can work together for good, if we walk in Him. thanks for a great reflection. Eryn Hannah, Austin, Texas

  3. HOPE. The strongest four-letter word in our Christian universe. Thanks for a great post - blessings!!!

  4. Hope for me is trusting the Lord. Excepting what he gives me even if it isn't what I wanted.
    I also remember those crosses!!

  5. Thank you, Shirley, for the opportunity to share my heart. And thank you, readers, for your comments. I'm blessed to think of how Libby's story in They Almost Always Come Home can offer much-needed hope.

  6. HOPE is trusting in our Lord...everyday.

    a beautiful posting...thanks for sharing.

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  7. Hi Shirley -

    I popped over here from Facebook and signed up as a Follower.

    Thank you for the book review and interview. My pastor is doing a series on hope. That theme seems to follow me wherever I go these days. I think the Lord is trying to tell me something. :)

    Please enter me in the giveaway.

    susanjreinhardt (at) gmail (dot) com

    In answer to your question, I have a blog. As a matter of fact, I'm also doing a giveaway. :)


  8. I am like so many. I think hope follows us in whatever state we are in if we only reach out and take it.
    I really appreciate your reflection, Cynthia. Thanks so much. And the comments coming in mean a lot.

  9. There is a favorite song we sing in church "I Will Have Hope" that fills me with hope. Every time.

    Ann Lee Miller

  10. What a wonderful word hope is. Hope to me is very powerful. We have put our hope in G-d and seen where hubby has been healed several times.


  11. Oh Wow! My greatest hope is in knowing the Lord is coming back for me SOON.

  12. Love all these thoughts! Thanks for taking the time to share them, everyone!

  13. Hope to me is the confidence and peace that comes from Jesus' promise that He will never leave us. I just don't see how those without Christ are able to cope from day to day.

    Cynthia's book is in my favorite genre and I appreciate the chance to win a copy.

    cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net