I sat in the drivers seat of my parents Toyota Sequoia, completely overwhelmed and utterly despondent. My body betrayed me as tears began to spill down my cheeks. My hunched shoulders trembled as I gasped for the next breath, in direct conflict to the strong, resolute image I had predetermined to uphold. “This wouldn’t have happened if I never began to hope.” That thought became more fortified as it bounced around the recesses of my mind. I was convinced; hope was cruel and I wanted no part of it.
That day, I cursed the hope to which my soul is now anchored.
I know what it is like to live without hope. That tension filled moment in the car six years ago is still vivid in my mind. At the time, I was in the midst another huge life change. I finally vocalized my desire to serve in ministry instead of pursuing the dream I had been groomed to pursue. Unfortunately, the people who I would’ve expected to be my biggest advocates spewed some of the most painful discouragement. My noble calling became a heavy cross. Eventually, I could no longer muster anger and confusion. My exhaustion in trying to convince those close to me of this change chipped away and left a stone cold version of me. At night, when I was most vulnerable, I’d whisper to God, “Do you see me?” I never heard an answer. Over time, life become so difficult and the daily pressure to live up to a pre-determined standard continued to build. Six months later, I decided I could not continue hoping. I had been let down far too many times. That moment, I declared, this would be the last time I would put my hope in anyone or anything.
Yet amazingly, thankfully, even though I declared those words with every ounce of will I could muster, God would not hold me to my word. Over the course of several months, long-suffering became my walking stick. It was hard and rough but also supported me as I lifted my aching feet to take another step.
That’s what I believe hope is. Its the conclusion that despite present surroundings or circumstances, God is not only good, but he is good to me. I thought that in my darkest moment, hope was the thing that caused my sharpest pain. Now upon closer examination, hope was the gentle nudge that day to start the car again, head home, crawl in my bed and cry. Hope was there with me the next morning as the soles of my aching feet touched the ground once more, still sore from the emotional scars that had built up over time. Hope beckoned me to confide in my friends and in their comfort I found shelter. Hope was there when things got worse, and when they got better. And in due season, as faithfully as the tides sweep over sun-kissed sands, Hope ushered me forgive.
Hope is now the trusted friend who has walked by my side through more valleys and mountains than I could’ve ever imagined. We are comrades and companions. I look at Hope with a quiet and still gladness. Hope has become an anchor to which all my expectations, needs, prayers, distresses, and inner yearnings are tied to.
My prayer, dear reader, is that you would cling to hope.
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:19
This verse is not just a cool slogan on the front of your neighbor’s sweatshirt but it is the power of Jesus for a frail and weary soul.