It's a little surreal, seeing something we've hoped for for the last two years become a tangible reality. But I won't lie, there have been days where it has been hard to hope for good things (about this church and about many other things). So this post is about hope and how hope can feel impossible. But also how hope is exactly what we're guaranteed in the Christian life.
When it comes to my walk with God, most of my doubts and spiritual struggles come down to the question "Am I really believing that God is who he says he is?" This question seems to come up again and again as I struggle through the ups and downs of life.
Someone asked me yesterday if I had any resolutions for the new year. I hesitated a bit before I told them "no." But, I told them, it’s not because I haven’t thought about it.
Grief can feel exceptionally heavy and lonely. It can lead us to cry out in confusion, "God, where are you?" It can feel natural, and oftentimes easier, to follow this spiral of despair. But it's here that we must turn our lament heavenward.
In fall the aspens' tiny leaves turn an unbelievably brilliant yellow, fluttering like a thousand little coins. Stripes of gold and orange flash by the window as you drive. Splotches of yellow splashed across the sides of mountains, making the mountainside look like it’s on fire. I've always loved the changing of seasons; the shift in temperature signaling that something new is coming.
As I consider my own treasured desires and dreams, my heart longs for God to tell me that I can keep them. That I can wrap them up in my hands and hold them tightly. That I can count on the assurance that these hopes will come to pass, that these gifts will stay in my hands forever…
But is that ever promised?
Has God promised to keep me safe? To keep my reputation clear and untarnished? Has he promised me children and a home and financial stability? To make my hopes and dreams come to fruition?
After His death, Christ's disciples were heartbroken and terrified.
Their Messiah had died.
The one they thought was going to save them had died on a cross like a common criminal. All hope had been lost. Their life, their plan, their hopes... everything died with Him.
How do you articulate to fellow believers, to people who look to you as a "strong Christian woman," that only weeks ago you sat on your bathroom floor, barely able to breathe except to utter the words to God or whoever might be listening, "why don't you love me?"
Sometimes it is so hard to follow and love You in the midst of a broken world and a broken me.
Sometimes I think life would be easier if I didn’t have to feel the pain of a world and people without You.
Sometimes I think life would be easier if I didn't realize the extent of my own sin.
You know that feeling when you literally have no idea how something is going to work out? When you know there's a "next step" that's coming but you have no idea what it is? When the deadline to have things figured out is just a month (or a week) away? When people ask you "what's next" and you can't answer because it feels like there's just this big black empty void of a black hole ahead of you that will swallow you if you get too close?
Do you ever have those days when everything seems to be crumbling? When things are just falling apart left and right and you don’t have the strength to hold it together anymore? When it seems like everything is just too much and you want to give up?
Everywhere we look we see the effects of the brokenness of the world. You can barely scroll through your Facebook feed without seeing a news article or a comment thread about the latest tragedy, protest, or act of injustice. There is tragedy, unfairness, and devastation everywhere and it is truly heartbreaking...
Hope in God. David proclaims what I would do well to remember – that even if everything around me gives way, even if evil and darkness rule my life, there is still hope because God is unchangeable and steady and unshakeable, “His grace is the ground for unshaken hope” (Spurgeon).
Even if you are in a place where you don’t feel God’s love, it does not mean that He is not present. Even if the darkness does not lift, “the darkness is not dark to him” and there is still hope.
What do you do when you so heavily feel the weight of the brokenness of the world bearing down on you? When you are so overwhelmed with the pain caused by sin that you feel suffocated? When your heart aches with the hurt and grief of the people around you?
How do you let it more deeply root yourself in the goodness and love and sovereignty of the Lord?
Hope is not just faith for today…it is faith for every single day on earth until our hope becomes a reality at the coming of Christ. It is faith in the future tense. True, life-giving hope brings us a deep sense of joy. Even through the darkness and struggles we know that the victory has already been won and we will not be overcome if we hold fast to our hope in Christ.