Well, I guess it seems that I was missing in action last week! Me and little Michael stayed so busy every day while the rest of the family was on the mission trip, that we both collapsed into bed each night, leaving no time for blogging!
But even though I wasnt writing with my fingers, I was writing in my heart. All week long I seemed to keep thinking of things I could post, but nothing just felt right. It was like I couldnt focus on anything in depth. My mind would race from one subject to the next, never landing on anything for any length of time.
The reason for that, apparently, was because my heart was missing something. My heart was void of something very very important, that gives me the motivation to write, speak and worship.
What was missing, was hope.
God has been talking to me all week about it, gently and very subtly. I dont know if it is for your benefit, or for my own comfort and reassurance, but today God has prompted me to write about hope.
There are a lot of things we are hopeful about, in fact we use the word “hope” quite flagrantly – “I hope I get to go to the beach this summer; I hope my child wins their ballgame; I hope I get that job I interviewed for.”
Hope is simply a part of our every day language, and as a result, I think sometimes we forget how crucial real hope is.
I too have hope about many things, including the fact that I put my total hope and belief that Jesus Christ will one day return. No doubt about it. He died for me and you, arose from the grave, and will return. But what about having anticipation and expectation about other things in life until He does return? That is the hope that is hardest to hold on to.
My heart has felt like it had a two-ton boulder pressing on it lately, worrying about my sweet sister Christie.
Each day is a challenge for her, as she battles her Multiple Schlerosis, and each day/month/year seems to bring new difficulties. The disease is progressing, and there is nothing we can do about it, except watch with heartbreak and fear.
One day last week, my sister said she had a dream. In this dream, she was running, doing cartwheels, jumping and playing with her kids. It went for a long time, and she was happy and laughing.
Then she woke up. To reality. A reality where she cant run. A reality where carefree romping and playing is nothing more than a memory. A reality filled with pain and disappointment and a lack of hope. Then she cried. Then I cried.
I have prayed for her healing so many times that it has probably become a mute point with God. I have begged for comfort for her so many times, that God is surely tired of hearing it. I have pressured God for understanding so many times, that He is probably ready to give this daughter a spanking.
I have begged Him for a sign of hope, but have yet to see one. Hope seems to be just an illusion, beyond our grasp, taunting us about the unknown, testing our faith.
I found myself thinking, is hope really real? Is hope possible, when a situation seems hopeless? Is physical healing possible, when all odds seem to be against it? Is comfort and freedom from pain really attainable, when every cell inside a body is raging a war against itself? Is peace actually available, for those who find no end to the hurting?
Is hope nothing more than an unrealistic wish that we make out of the desperation of the longing of our hearts?
In my quest to find an answer, I looked up the definition of hope, and it is “the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best; to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence; to feel that something desired may happen”.
Well that sounds all well and good; a nice, warm and fuzzy answer…. but seriously?
As I continued reading the definitions for hope, I came across the last one, which said: ‘hope against hope’, defined as “to continue to hope, although the outlook does not warrant it”.
As I pondered that thought, my spirit leaped a tiny bit. I began to see that God has been trying to reassure me, and to help me find the illusory hope that has been missing from my heart.
In retrospect over the past week, I can see how He filled my days with gentle, subtle reminders that He heard the cries of my heart, and that my hope in Him can be strong. I see how He was trying to lead me to a place of acceptance that I can continue to have hope, even when the facts do not warrant it.
Dont ever believe that God cant send an email, because He has been keeping my inbox full lately! He “sent” me the following verses in email this week, through devotions and people:
John 6:35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”
Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”
Jeremiah 17:14 “Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed;save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.”
If you think I just pulled these verses up because they seemed appropriate, think again kemosabi. They appeared in my inbox on their own, all with the same theme of believing in God without fail, trusting the unseen, finding peace, and believing in hope. I even came across an article about hope. And today, during our Sunday School lesson, we discussed the topic of hope. Irony? Absolutely not. God speaking? Absolutely.
God was plugging into my heart, using as many outlets as He could to infuse the power of hope back into my life.
He was simply waiting on me to hear Him. To allow His reassurance to saturate my heart, and fill up that empty space that had been as dry and void of life as the hot, sandy desert in the middle of summer.
If you ask me, hope is as essential for survival as is food and water. When someone gives up hope, expectations, and anticipation of good things, then there is nothing to look forward to. Maybe nothing to live for. Hope is life giving. Without hope, there can be no life, and life is a gift, even when it involves suffering.
How many times have we heard that “God didnt promise a life without suffering”? Too many to count probably. How many more times have we forgotten that truth? I dont know about you, but I cant even keep count of my own forgetfulness, because I dont like suffering! I dont like to see anyone else suffer either. It makes me sad; and at times, angry; and I feel powerless.
No, I cant understand the purposes of suffering; I dont see the reason; I cant imagine what benefits could possibly be derived. But I also know that it is not for me to understand. God is God, and I am not. His ways, are not our ways. His omnipotence is not for me to understand. I may not like it, but I must still love Him, and trust in Him, nonetheless.
I can only maintain the faith and belief that God uses all things to His glory, in one way or another, and without hope in that truth, then life and sufferings, seem pointless. I have to maintain a hope that He may heal people now, he may heal them later in life, or he may heal them when He calls them home.
My sisters nine year old daughter responded to her dream that morning after she had it. She told mommy not to worry, because one day, they could do cartwheels in heaven together. Even though hearing that brought an instant tsunami of tears to my eyes, it also opened my eyes to what hope is really all about it. Out of the mouths of babes. Hope is a treasure that can fill the gaping holes in our heart if we reach out and drink it in.
I think the key is having that hope against hope. A hope that continues to believe that God does hear, He is working, and He can heal, even when everything I see with my human eyes does not warrant it.
I will never stop praying and hoping for Christies healing, and I hope that He chooses to knit her back to perfect form. What an amazing miracle that would be, what glory that could bring Him as we shouted His praises to the world!
But I have to commit to holding fast to my faith, and keeping faith in who God is, and not what He does. That will be hard, and there will be more days where I will need Him to help me have hope against hope. Maybe even tomorrow.
Whether any of us do cartwheels here on the green grass, or in heaven on white fluffy clouds, is Gods decision – but believing that He was, is and will forever Be, is where hope has to begin.
Psalm 33:18 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
Psalm 62:5 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;my hope comes from him.
Psalm 119:14 You are my refuge and my shield;I have put my hope in your word.
Psalm 119:147 I rise before dawn and cry for help;I have put my hope in your word