Hope Against All Hope

Today at church, I was struck by a thought.  How often do believers hide their light?  The reason they can have a sliver of hope in the darkest hours?  Like Simon Peter, I hide my faith when I should be standing firm.  How many missed opportunities have I missed afraid of offending or afraid of ….what?  When Phil died, my testimony became my walk through loss.

I never could have thought about what would be asked of me.  My faith became very real when I studied for the sacrament of Communion at the age of six.  I  never strayed too far from my walk, but I fell short more often than not.  I believed that if I prayed hard enough and believed enough that somehow I was immune to life body slams.  It wasn’t a conscious thought, but I prayed every single day multiple times for my Phil’s safe return to me.  I truly believed that he would come home to me and I never once even considered that he might not come home.

Death is sneaky….as is illness and accidents.  Do we ever really think today is my day to die or to be hurt or to get sick?  Does having faith somehow make me immune to trials and body slams so great that I wanted to curl up in a ball and die?  Faith simply means hope against hope (Romans 4: 18).  It simply means believing some how, some way that there is something bigger than me, bigger than life, bigger than death, and bigger than evil—hope against hope.

When I was hearing those awful words, I dropped to my knees and began keening—a sound that I could never replicate even if I tried.  My one cognizant thought as I was feeling the true physical pain of my heart breaking was how can I claim to have faith if in my darkest hour, I turn from that faith?  I chose.  That is the hope against all hope.  In that moment my lifeline of hope began.

Hope does not change that vile unthinkable act, but it gives me something beyond.  Beyond what?  Beyond a temporal life and beyond the total devastation of my life.  It came to me—because I could not wrap my arms around any of what was happening.  I saw it again as my father was dying.  He was losing his life, yet he remembered his prayers and sought out God in the darkness. He could not speak well, but he mumbled prayer after prayer.  You tell me.  Was God with him?  With my Phil as evil rained down that day?  I have to believe it to be so.  I believe that both men were received into heaven and that angels surrounded them in those final days, hours, and minutes.

Because my journey of loss has been so public, my faith has come out from under the bushel.  I do not have the time or the energy to hide what it is that gives me a reason to get up in the morning and a reason to press on.  I will never be able to explain vile decisions, illness in children, or unfair death.  While all I know is that having faith does not make me immune to body slams, it does give me something to hope in and a lifeline during the very darkest minutes when I am drowning. “Suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope (Romans 5:4).  While none of us want to suffer, the essential truth is that we all will at some point in our lives.  What will your choice be?  Share your story of faith so that we all may find a spark of hope today.  Hope against all hope.  It is there….I believe.Image

Comments

  1. Reblogged this on ambardpl and commented:

    I was considering this verse and what I stand on today as I ran on. By deciding to take the job and stay in MA at least for now, I closed many other doors. Each door had its own merit and each road led to something else. With no clear direction for my remaining days, and with my dreams I once had of siting on the porch in WA state with my Phil laughing over our grandchildren’s antics, my vision is shifting. I do not know what my future holds and many days are very lonely, but I made a decision at the same time I decided where to stay for now–if I do not like the girl looking back in the mirror, there is only one person who can change it–me. In small faltering steps, I am pushing my comfort zone.
    In the past week, I had someone tell me that they had given up hope of finding a chapter two. I thought about that while I ran. I want a chapter two. I believe that God gave me a promise for that on 24 June 2011, but even if–EVEN IF–it does not happen, I was blessed with a remarkable man who loved me well for 23 years. Many people do not get that. The problem for me is that if I listen to many people who tell me that I should not be so picky or that I should be thankful to be asked out at all, or even that I should go out with lots of people, I get caught up in compromising of myself and what I need, want, and value.
    My hope does not falter regardless of relationships or a few hard moments. My hope is the quiet confidence that I feel each and every morning that I get out of bed. I do not explain it well, but I always have a feeling that something good is going to happen every day. Yes, maybe it is just the happiness and satisfaction of my run, or maybe it is in the quiet awareness of knowing that I am impacting my little area of the world one small ripple at a time, but I believe and I stand in expectant hope–ALWAYS. Langston Hughes once said, “When hope dies, life is but a broken winged bird that cannot fly.” I am soaring in the hope that carries me to lofty heights and unexpected choices.

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