In The Absence Of Hope

On Tuesday I had the opportunity to have lunch with a friend. This is a relatively new relationship, as we only met last spring through a mutual friend, yet I feel I’ve known her for years.

After catching up on the light and fluffy stuff, we got down to business. We talked about the hard stuff, the beyond the surface answer kind of things. The depth of emotion my friend shared and the transparency of her heart made an impression on my own.

Keep in mind this friend is not the overly dramatic type. She is smart, creative and fiercely funny. She is one of my few friends who both challenges my thinking and can make me laugh so hard I snort, a rare and valuable combination!

As we lunched away, the common thread throughout the conversation was hope. Not the presence of hope, but its absence.

My friend is a deeply devoted follower of the Lord Jesus. She is hardcore about her faith and knows biblical truth, but the last year or so of her life has been wrought with a non -stop series of trials, challenges and obstacles. This ongoing parade of hardship has left her weary, frustrated and afraid to hope.

As we talked, we both realized that we had a lot of head knowledge about hope, but that actually “hoping” in the biblical sense is slippery. Just when you think you’ve got hope in your grasp, it shoots out of your hands like a bar of soap in the bathtub.

As I’ve thought through this the last few days I got to thinking that maybe hope is not to be grasped at all. Perhaps it is quite the opposite.

What would it mean for us in the midst of our crazy circumstances and difficult relationships to simply acknowledge hope without trying to possess it?

Hope in the middle of life’s storms can appear distant and elusive. When I make solving my circumstances the object of my hope, it ultimately leads me to greater despair and further away from the heart of God.

When we are in the middle of the battle and our circumstances have gotten the best of us, the Lord invites us to simply come.

Hope does not mean that the situation will go away. Hope does not mean that we get what we want. Hope does not mean that life will be better or easy.

Hope is an act of obedience. Hope is an act of worship.

Hope requires that despite the evidence around us, we choose to believe in the goodness and mercy of God. Hope requires we reflect His glory and surrender our hearts, hurts and expectations to the Lord.

When we go through life trying to hold onto hope like a bar of soap in the bathtub, we will be frustrated and discouraged.

Rather, live with open hands and a willingness to be honest before God with our hearts, no matter how damaged they are.
He will meet us in our pain, in our circumstance and He will restore our joy because He alone is our hope.

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