Hope.... When I listened to my pastor's sermon about it last Sunday I thought, "Yeah, I know what hope is...I got this!" And even last night as we talked about it in Connect Group, I thought I had a pretty good handle on it. But this morning, God broke me down. There is (and has been) a situation in my life that has been really hard. Sometime in high school I just started ignoring it so I could go on living, but I know it's still there, and throughout college I began to acknowledge it again - just a little bit. I would pray about it every now and then, but it's just so hard that I can only handle acknowledging it for so long before it starts to disrupt my ability to carry out my daily responsibilities. Then I ignore it again, so I can be a functioning adult. (Not the healthiest - I know.)
Well, a few weeks ago, I was challenged to pray for other people for 40 days. The person at the center of this situation was the second thing on my list. As the days have gone on it has gotten harder to pray for this person/situation. Today I finally broke down and didn't want to pray anymore. I was mad at God because I can't see him doing anything. I've read about people that prayed everyday, without ceasing, for years and even until they died, without giving up. I want to be like them but today, I just wanted to give up.
I was so angry I wanted to just wail on God and walk away. I got one step away and he grabbed me and pulled me into his bosom. He embraced me despite my fight and held me there until I surrendered...really surrendered, not just my fight but let go of this hurt and anger. Then I felt his comfort...and hope.
Here's how it happened: I had given up on praying for the moment and went to do something else. Still distracted and wrestling internally, a friend calls, who happens to be in my Connect Group so she is familiar with the sermon and conversations around hope. When she asked how my morning was going, I was honest and said that it was hard. I shared everything, including some tears (which is hard and a big step for me). I realized that it is much easier for me to choose despair in this situation, and that's what I had finally done earlier in the morning. She commented on how it's hard to hope when there is no opportunity, and I agreed. That's why I had lost hope for this person, there is nothing else that can help her. Jesus is her ONLY hope. Jesus is MY only hope for her. Somehow, with that refreshed realization, God supernaturally renewed my hope. It seems so backwards to me, that I have hope, especially after acknowledging that there is no visible or logical hope for her. Like, huh? That doesn't make sense! But that's what hoping in Jesus is all about. It doesn't make the situation any easier, but I have hope, and what's better is that I can talk to the One that is my hope for her. I can sit at his feet and beg and plead, and he will never get tired of it. That's some love!
So what day is it after all? I haven't been counting the days, but now I'm really curious how many days it's actually been. After looking it up just now, today is actually day 40. Wow - significant! I am in awe of God and how he works.