Hoping

About 24 years ago, my former pastor said “There’s no hope without waiting.” As a 24-year-old who’d just recently experienced my first major loss as an independent adult, those words sank deep into my heart and shaped my view of this faith journey. As I grew and read the Bible, especially passages like Lamentations 1-3, another truth dawned. Not only is there no hope without waiting, but there is no hope without pain. If we don’t experience pain, loss or need, we have no reason to hope. If we have every need met, every longing fulfilled, and every dream realized before even asking, we don’t experience hope. So, in my little mind, would life be better without a need for hope? Would life here be better without pain? Is that what heaven will be? We will live in the presence of every fulfillment so there will be no need to hope. What will that feel like? What replaces hope when there’s no need for it? Contentment? Fulfillment? Satisfaction? Peace?

I’m not sure. I’m just pondering. And, if I’m honest, I’m trying to hold on to hope in the midst of some hurts and fears. People betray and disappoint, uncertainty of the future rears its head, injustice seems unchecked and my heart and mind grow weary. But I want to live in a place of hope. I want to be a person of hope.

There is pain and suffering and heart ache and the truth is, life can be hard. But I don’t want to live as if that’s all there is.

I want to be a person who lives and breathes and brings hope.

Back to Lamentations 1-3, if you read it, it’s painful. It’s about regrets, screw-ups, abandonment, disappointment and desertion. The writer despairs over his own people and their predicament. He despairs of his own life and feels alone in his suffering. He feels like everyone is letting him down and they (the nation of Israel) have let God down. There’s a sense of betrayal and bewilderment in his summary words:

 The thought of my suffering and homelessness
    is bitter beyond words.
I will never forget this awful time,
    as I grieve over my loss.

Then, he follows with the oft-quoted words:

Yet I still dare to hope
    when I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.

I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
    therefore, I will hope in him!”
 The Lord is good to those who depend on him,
to those who search for him.
So it is good to wait quietly
for salvation from the Lord.

What would those beautiful words of hope be without the longing and despair that came before them? Hollow. Shallow. Trite. But because of his sense of loss, pain and longing for justice, the words are filled with trust and beauty. He writes his words in the midst of his burdens, not after them. He claims hope and salvation from the very place of his intense mental anguish.

The writer’s words–his faith–his hope–gives me hope for the day–hope right in the middle of confusion and hurt. How about you? What gives you hope for the day?

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3 thoughts on “Hoping

  1. …and verse 27: “And it is good for people to submit at an early age to the yoke of his discipline.”

    This is one of the scriptures we prayed over our son a few years back when he was experiencing major panic attacks! I took great comfort in the hope of this passage! Thanks for sharing your beautiful heart!

  2. Thanks for sharing! This is so true. When I lost my husband when I was 27 it was hope in the Lord that kept me going. God has taught me so much through the pain and agony of this world and I cling to the hope that one day I will be with my Lord and Savior and free of the pains of the world.. This reminder was needed. Thank you!

  3. This morning I was led to Lamentations 3 and all morning I have been trying to figure out why in the context of what I was to pray for. I originally, dismissed the thought thinking that maybe the devil was trying to discourage me, but then I felt that was not true and started thinking on why Lamentations 3 but this has definitely helped me understand my leading this morning. Thank you.

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