Hope is something we cannot live without. I have seen this to be true and the lowest points in my life is when hope feels like it is hanging by a thread.
I would say most of us have hanging-by-a-thread-hope from time to time. Perhaps some people have that feeling more than others. Much of it is circumstantial. When things are going well, it is easy to have hope. When you don't understand something, hope is strained.
My friend Gemma and I have been talking about the crushing that happens when God is refining us for His purpose. What feels so painful in the moment is the exact thing that is used to produce the oil that we really need and want. We so want to have the oil or wine or whatever the crushing produces without the crushing.
In theory, I totally can hum along talking about building character and resilience from crushing, but when you are in the most painful moment, you care very little about those qualities! You just want out!
I know this is sounding hope-less but it is leading to what I see as the ultimate hope.
Surface hope is something that will wash away with the first tide that comes in. And we know the tide will come in. We can count on that.
Deep hope comes during the times that you don't understand and you cry out to God and say "I simply cannot take anymore. What is going on?!" But then..... "I trust in YOU no matter what. I trust in YOU no matter what everything looks like. I trust in YOU no matter if I get the answer I want."
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
I received some messages from friends who know about this jaw issue. Those messages came during that time that I was saying "What is going on??" and thankfully those people's prayers carried me into the place of "I trust in YOU...."
As much as I didn't want to write a message like this because I feared it would sound negative, I just know that there are people who cannot relate to cheer when they are in a pit. Sometimes hope comes in the form of knowing someone else has been in that pit and that they didn't have to will themselves out of it but that rescue came anyway....from the loving hand of God.
Being real is critical in this hope-poor world. So many people are biding their time, just barely getting by each day, using anything to try to numb the pain. We have to be real and remind them that God is able to handle our questions, our doubts, our cries. Let people feel the weight of it all and know that there is hope.
Our hope will not be put to shame.
And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:5