Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Better Hope


For the law never made anything perfect.
But now we have confidence in a better hope,
through which we draw near to God.
(Hebrews 7:19)



I’ve felt him hovering around the edges lately. Breathing softly down the back of my neck.

Hello, Darkness, my old friend, I’ve come to talk to you again…*

Thankfully, gratefully, we’ve managed to keep him pretty much at bay so far. God and I are seasoned warriors on this particular battlefront.

But I am wary.

We know his wiles.


Strangely, I’ve encountered several people recently who are in the heat of battle. The Depression Demon has swooped down like a voracious vulture and grabbed them by their necks. Some are experiencing the blues. A sense of oppression, heaviness, sadness. As one friend told me, “There’s just so much to be sad about in the world right now.”

Some are experiencing situational depression, a mood disorder originating from adverse circumstances, such as a terrifying disease. Some are battling chemical imbalances.

But for others, it’s a bloody fight for life.


Yesterday, I was asked to pray for someone who tried to end life.

The pain became too much to bear.

Hope was lost.

Ending life seemed the only way to end the pain.


Hopelessness.


If you google depression, that word comes up in almost every list of symptoms.

“A sense of hopelessness” is usually right there after “low energy or fatigue” and “constant sadness.”


The end of long-cherished dreams.  A gaping dark hole of a future.

Everything seems impossible. The sun won’t come up tomorrow.

 And nothing can ever, will ever, change.

Hope-less-ness.

These are the lies heard whispered in the dark night of the soul.


This morning, I checked in on Margery to see if there were any new comments on the last post. My friend Mary had left this for me in the wee morning hours:

Life on this earth can be really hard, but we have the hope of a perfect Heaven to live in forever!”

If anyone knows what it is to need hope, it is Mary. She has lived through an unimaginably devastating life-quake. Yet she is one of the most joy-filled, adventurous, giving human beings I’ve ever known. She radiates love and confidence.

But it is a confidence that comes from a source greater than herself. Her hope is not in other people, for they have surely let her down. Nor is it is merely self-confidence.

It is hope in God and His promises.


The definition of the verb hope is:  to cherish a desire with anticipation.

In etymology studies, a connection is made with the Old Germanic verb hop (“to leap.” The extension in the context of hope is “leaping in expectation.”

I think of a child jumping up and down in expectant excitement on Christmas morning. Hoping for all her impossible dreams to come true. I long for the day when my hope is that evident... joyful... contagious... 

“Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.” (I Peter 1:3-4)

But if hope is only in ourselves or fate, then we are ‘more to be pitied than anyone else.’

If I ‘hope’ to get it together… pull myself up by my bootstraps… take matters into my own hands and fix things, then I might as well go ahead and throw in the towel now.

Because my best isn’t good enough.

There are things I simply cannot fix.

Like myself.

Or anyone else.

Painful circumstances.

Devastating illness.


But, thank God, there is a better hope.


Lightbulb clicking on, it comes to me suddenly:

A life without hope is a life devoid of life itself

because Christ is Hope

and he is Life.


Easton’s Bible Dictionary clarifies:

Christ is the actual object of the believer's hope, because it is in his second coming that the hope of glory will be fulfilled (1 Tim. 1:1; Col. 1:27; Titus 2:13). It is spoken of as "lively", i.e., a living, hope, a hope not frail and perishable, but having a perennial life (1 Pet. 1:3). In Rom. 5:2 the "hope" spoken of is probably objective, i.e., "the hope set before us," namely, eternal life.

There is a better hope in a better country.

But that doesn’t mean it’s just pie-in-the-sky-by-and-by.

Where there is Christ, there is hope. There is no place so low he will not go.

Christ inhabits the believer at the point of conversion. If you have ever asked him to come in, he is there still. You may have smushed him into a corner, crowded his space with other idols, but he remains in you. And he is interceding for you now. Standing in the cavernous gap.

Countless promises have been made. It is impossible that they should not be kept.

“There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.”  (Proverbs 23:18)  


If you are oppressed by a debilitating depression,
     there is hope.

If your family is falling apart,

     there is hope.

If you are caught in the trap of addiction,

     there is hope.

If everything you love is taken away

     there is still hope.


It is one of the three things that remain when all else turns to dust.

‘Hope springs eternal,’ not just because of natural optimism, but because Christ, the embodied personification of hope, is eternal.


When the darkness comes creeping up on me, when everything in life seems unendingly hopeless, I remind myself of these things:

The Christ-in-You-Hope can never die. The darkness will not overtake it. Nothing can separate you from it. You may not see it,  feel it, hear it. But it is there, hiding in your heart, underneath the pile of rubbish and lies.

I hope that you know this, too, no matter how hopeless you may feel.

I pray for us all...

***************

 “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him.” (Eph, 1:18-19)


And if you could use a little extra hope today…


“Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us…” (II Cor 1:9)

“God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.” (Hebrews 6:17-19)


To hear from someone with a PhD in Hope, please click on my daughter’s blog:






I am linking up with this wonderful purveyor of hope:






(* The Sound of Silence,  Simon and Garfunkle)

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Please keep writing. Loved and needed this post and the post on adversity.

aseedinspired.com said...

I know right?
what is spiritually going on.
everyone is sinking?
We have to hold strong.
T

Emily Ferris said...

Thank you for this reminder!! I pray that I (we all!) will live with great expectation and Hope in Him!

ps - the two previous posts you linked have been two of my very favorites and most meaningful ...

Thank you for continuing to share your wisdom and life with us! much love and many prayers, Emily

Susan said...

I am thinking we have been in the same place in recent days. Here is the verse I used in my last blog post:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13

I think it fits.
Love and prayers to you and your family.
Susan

Anonymous said...

You are a gifted writer and your posts are a ministry. Adversity and Hope could not be addressed more explicitly and eloquently. How can I get these two posts via email? I'm not very computer savvy, but would love to share these two with dear, sweet friends who are experiencing the worst of adversities. God bless you for the inspiration you are.

Sue

Laurel said...

I think the hope that gives us the most is hope for the happiness of others. No matter what happens to us, we can still affect those around us in a positive way. And truly, the things I have anticipated most in my life have been things I did for other people with the aspiration that they would be delighted.

And hope for others is not a far step from love for others. It is divine in essence.

Kim said...

You all have the gift of encouragement!

Thank you. Obviously, I've been needing some lately.

And you've reminded me that I need to pass it on... to share the hope I have.

Sue, please send me your email, and I will forward the two posts to you. (It's kta2754@gmail.com.) I'm not very 'computer savvy' either, but at least we try.

Love, Kim

Anonymous said...

I think I saw James' hero, aka Johnny, in my People magazine last week canoodling with one Hermione Granger. Cute!!
-Blair

Kim said...

Yes, Blair...

it's official!

(they're dating.)

She couldn't have found a sweeter guy in all the world.

He has meant so much to our family during this whole ordeal... from being James' "Baby Whisperer" in the waiting room during ICU days... to driving me out to the rehab hospital in Pomona... giving us ongoing comic relief... to recently loaning us his car.

I am so grateful that none of the Hollywood Hype has had the slightest effect on him. He remains the same wonderful guy he's always been, paparazzi notwithstanding.

We thank God for all of our precious extended families... couldn't have done it without their consistent support.

Love, Kim

(p.s. I am a People-addict, too. Just can't pass one up in the grocery store line.)