An Anchor of Hope in a Dizzying World


Sitting backwards in the center of a blue leather medical bed, I waited for my physical therapist to count down our next move: “Three ... two ... one!” Upon her cue, I quickly fell back onto my left side. My body, especially my face, hit the bed with force. Immediately the room began spinning.

My vision reluctantly followed the spin as my head and my therapist waited for the dizziness to subside. She was testing me to lure out a sneaky foe. She peered into my face, focusing on the erratic movement in my eyes. It was evidence of a disconnect in communication between my inner ear, my brain and my vision.

“You definitely have benign vertigo (BPPV),” she said. “But it’s taking longer than usual [to come out of the vertigo]. Turn your head to the right, but keep your eyes on me.”

I moved my head with intention to the right side of the room. The spin found a new rhythm as another dizzy spell began — not as intense as on the left side, but definitely there. The BPPV hit me hard three days earlier, coming out of nowhere and disrupting my life. With its initial arrival I couldn’t do simple things — like eat without getting nauseous — if I leaned a little too far to the left.

BPPV, the most common cause of vertigo, left me disoriented and frustrated. A lack of balance surfaced at times, making me work to find my footing with each step I took. Therapy helped me heal, but it took some time. What I felt physically this summer with that temporary vertigo parallels many of the confusing and difficult realities of 2020, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year has been weighty and wearisome for many of us. We’re all trying to find our footing as we hope for healing and change. This Advent season I am reminded that our hope in the gift of Jesus Christ will never disappoint.

“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”

Romans 5:1-5 (New Living Translation)

Early in my relationship with God, Romans 5:1-5 held a special place in my heart. During college I discovered the verses and immediately felt a kinship to them, typing them up and taping the printed words on my dorm room door. They became a visual reminder of hope in the midst of difficulties.

Trials have purpose. They teach us how to endure challenges and strengthen us through the grace of God. That grace helps deepen our character, which then builds into our confident hope of salvation: a hope that will not disappoint.

The Advent season is built upon hope and longing. It gives us the opportunity to look to God and see His engagement in our lives amidst the rocky challenges and even crushing losses we experience. In the tension of these current realities, we also hope in the anticipation of what’s to come as we celebrate the birth of our Savior and eagerly await His return.

A devotional to guide you

Advent can help us slow down to realign ourselves with truth, remember Jesus and renew our minds.

Realign your focus and begin shifting your gaze from yourself to Jesus. The holiday season, especially during a pandemic, can feel overstimulating and stressful at times. Breathe, bring your needs to the Lord and receive His love and guidance.

Remember that Jesus is our Prince of Peace and came to give this world peace. He reconciled us back to God the Father through His sacrifice on the cross. Peace is a fruit of God’s Spirit and a bountiful blessing to anyone who places their faith and hope in Jesus.

Renew your mind with the reading and meditation of God’s Word. This season beckons us to engage our hearts with the Savior of the world. One way that we can experience Him deeply is through reading and meditating on Scriptures that spiritually anchor us.

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Melody Copenny
Words by

Melody Copenny

Melody serves as editor-in-chief for Cru Storylines™ and a journalist with Cru®. She’s an Atlanta, Georgia, native and University of Georgia graduate with a bachelor’s degree in magazine journalism. She enjoys the intersection of creativity, theology and popular culture in her writing projects.

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Ted Wilcox
Photos by

Ted Wilcox

Ted loves zigzagging the globe, capturing photos and stories of what God is doing. Originally from California, he serves as a missionary photojournalist with Cru® in Orlando, Florida. Ted also ministers to international scholars who come to Orlando to study.

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Read more from the November 2020 issue


Defeating Loneliness Through Lifelines in the Snow

To combat student loneliness at Oregon State University, sophomore Beth Whitten goes on a Cru® Lifelines snowshoe and snow-camping trip to learn about strengthening community.

November 2020

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