“This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of The Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassion fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:21-23
Recently I have begun to notice unexpected moments where I feel a stirring of hope. It’s a wild and unusual feeling, as it often occurs in situations that, humanly speaking, look pretty bleak.
Webster’s Dictionary describes hope as cherishing a desire with expectation of fulfillment; To long for with expectation of obtainment. What does hope look like to you? What do you picture in your mind? Perhaps today, you are going through a difficult trial, a tough situation where you can’t see straight, and feel pretty numb. Are you looking for a glimmer of hope? God, who said, “Let there be light”(Genesis 1:3) is able to shine a glimmer of hope upon your heart and life. He is able to break up the frozen tundra of your soul, making way for a radiant hope!
I encounter several women on a weekly basis. I listen to them share their stories. I hear about the real stuff of their lives, which is not unlike my own. And as I listen to stories of, say, a mother’s death or a father’s drinking problem or a spouse’s neglect or abuse, I am discovering that no matter what the specific circumstances may be, truly, we are all telling the same story- of loves and hopes, of our failures and our fears. Our stories are like patchwork quilts we stitch together during seasons of joy or duress into a kind of security blanket we carry through life. As I listen to a woman talk about her quilt or as I consider my own, two words often come to mind. But God. If, in trying to face our lives head-on, all we had in our hands were a few psychological tools and a smattering of the best human self-help, just how lost would we stay? How condemned would we be to an endless repeating of the same-old, stuck forever in a morass of (mostly) our own making? But God.
Maybe this is why such a wild hope is stirred in me. For what I hear now, in other women’s stories, is really the first rumblings of something I’ve stumbled upon myself.
The struggle is a door, and inside God waits. If you are willing to walk through the portal, you find what you could not experience deeply any other way. The gospel comes to life there. The power to forgive yourself and everybody else…..
A crack at discovering the way God actually redeems what seems irredeemable….
The hope of seeing Him create a new ending out of a bad beginning-it’s all waiting to be fleshed out. There is really someone there, in whose company lies the love you have longed for since you took your first breath. This wild hope is such a sharp contrast to what I’ve experienced in other seasons of my life. Disillusionment. If someone had asked me what was wrong, I could have offered only a vague response. “I’m not sure…..life just isn’t working out as I planned.”
I had distinct pictures in my mind of how I thought my life would look. Through the hazy outlines of the future I saw everything with a golden glow- marriage to a man who could complete my unspoken thoughts and children who lined up their lives as neatly as their shoes. I wanted a vibrant ministry that inspired others and a quiet, lovely house on a hill surrounded by lush green grass and trees and brilliant colorful flowers along the walkway.
And I thought God would offer some sort of immunity from anything that deeply disturbed this happy picture.
On some unconscious level, I projected my present into the future and squared the whole equation. When I first discovered Christ, I felt like Lucy must have felt when she fell out the back of an old wardrobe into the sparkling daze of Narnia. I was amazed at the hope of actually shedding my old self and slowly becoming the person God had in mind before my parents thought to conceive me. Only slowly, I think, do we separate hope from illusion. Only with time can you see the outlines of the actual dream God is shaping in and through you.For what seemed like forever, I saw only that marriage and raising children and ministry and writing had far more challenges than I anticipated. Where was the golden glow?
Hope is the golden stuff that draws us along on this journey. It keeps us alive on the inside so we can actually taste and experience the wonder of belonging to God. The richness of His mercy. A power to love that is not our own. Hope is a container God shapes in your heart where faith and love can be stored- and then generously offered to others.
The journey itself, though, is often not what we expect. It can be full of detours and potholes and narrow paths. Perhaps God has a different sort of wonderful than the one we had in mind. Keep holding onto that tender hope in the midst of your broken dreams. There is freedom on the other side of those dreams.
“Our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings and our peace is put in impossible things.”
C K Chesterton
“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5
Inspired gal tmc