Ever been at the end of your faith?
Unable to muster hope for yourself?
Or maybe you just wouldn’t let yourself grab onto hope because you decided that the safest thing to do was to brace yourself for the fall instead.
Oh yes, it can even happen to believers.
I believe in miracles, I hope for them, I’ve wished for them in and through my life. However, when my daughter was diagnosed in utero with a fatal defect I didn’t exactly float in a sea of hope for the rest of my pregnancy. Despite my strongest efforts to brace against the storm… dread, fear, and hopeless thoughts still seeped into the vessel of my being. Prayers for a complete and miraculous healing for my daughter’s broken body were aplenty, and while I wish I could say that those prayers were radiating from me, they mostly came out of the love of others. I was in the midst of a daily struggle to turn myself over to “Your will, not mine God” and that task was big enough to occupy most of my Godward thoughts.
Thankfully, others who loved me like Jesus didn’t allow my being tossed out to sea, they held onto to me with big hope at the times when I couldn’t drop my own anchor.
It was the love of friends, family, and sometimes even strangers… my beloved hope-bearers, that shone a bright light to illuminate a path that would wind through my own circumstantial darkness.
“Jesus-love” looks like being hope for the hopeless.
Jesus-love is saying “I see you. I know you are burdened.” It’s taking on some of the weight of another’s load while pointing your beacon for their steps.
Jesus-love comes in all different sorts and forms, but it lit up my dark season by offering:
Freedom to lament…
When a sister in Christ said “I know you want to ‘suffer well’ Natalie, but it’s okay to acknowledge that you cannot escape your human condition.” (Hope in the form of truth and grace).
Peace of mind…
From the sister in flesh who took over the feeding, entertaining and loving of my eldest kids as I was a ball of anxiety headed to deliver the new baby at the hospital. (Hope shaped like self-sacrifice).
Spilling over from nurses that loaded up our bags with way more than enough baby formula to feed the average life expectancy of a newborn burdened by Trisomy 18. (Hope in liquid form).
Delivered with care – an incredible “welcome home meal” made by a friend who infused it with so much love that I could taste it. (Hope to chew on).
Love, love, so much Jesus-love that I could share examples for days…
I think it would be accurate to compare the illuminated, blessing-filled lifting that I felt in that season to a feet-washed, communion-fed, grace-laden LOVE we’ve all read about. (Hope in the shape of Jesus).
Hope isn’t just a self-formed feeling, emotion or even a task, is it?
Hope is a way through.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2