“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 (NIV)
It gets me every time.
I am always taken by surprise.
Six months later and I do not see the trend ending any time soon.
What do I do?
I hold hands and cups of coffee.
I run between healthcare staff and family and sit in the waiting room with children who are too young to witness the adults in their lives fall apart emotionally.
I speak prayers and I sit silently, tears being the only expression close to, though not quite, capable of communicating the storm of grief taking hold.
I witness the strength and heart of the staff with awe and their tears with reverence for what they voluntarily experience out of their love for the person, for each beautiful and individual life.
And I hope.
I know the expectations, I know the probable outcome, I understand that if I have been called in, whatever chance there may be is small, and not promised.
And I expect the unexpected.
It’s not a half hope. It is not a “but God could” hope. It is not a last ditch hope.
It is complete, all in, God can hope. It is reckless hope.
And I am always taken by surprise. Because that kind of hope, against every odd, never considers the other outcome, until it arrives.
My heart always stutters in shock, surprise crashing down like a tidal wave. As I reach up for protection, He is reaching out is assurance. And I can stand and be still on the inside while walking through it on the outside.
I can get tissues and chairs. I can speak with family and safeguard sacred moments. I can remain out of the way (at least attempt to) and be readily available. I can give hugs and provide space. I can listen to stories and honor a need for silence.
I can make it home after helping family and friends head to homes that are somehow emptier in a world that makes a little, or a lot, less sense.
And then the wave comes. It has to you know. I’m not in it alone. But it still has to come down.
And I let it all wash out. Every shard of hope on trial.
Of course the defense is prepared and truth reigns.
He heard my prayers. He began answering them immediately. And yes, He was victorious.
In His way and in His time. His ways and His thoughts both higher than mine. His love incomprehensibly complete.
No matter how it feels, His truth reigns.
Not that He is unfeeling. He understands, He knows and He’s holding on. He hasn’t let go- and He’s not going to.
I knew He could do it, I know He can still do it- whatever the situation may be. I believed and believe. I hoped and I hope.
And when the tears come and the hope feels it has turned into shards of broken glass that still small voice whispers,
Child, you are not wrong.
as He wipes the tears away.
Because there is nothing impossible for our God. Nothing too hard. Nothing too big. Nothing too much. Or too little.
In a fallen world, horrible things happen that were not apart of God’s original plan. And with all of my schooling and study I cannot say for certain why God chooses to move and to stay His hand.
I hope in and I trust a Sovereign, Holy, Loving and Just God who did not create us to destroy us, but to give us a hope and a future, an eternal home.
A last thought.
I was wondering one evening, if this reckless hope would one day dissipate all together? I mean you hear stories of burnout. Of the last straw.
What would the consequences be of recklessly putting all of your heart in, all of the time?
Certainly, there was pain. I wondered, worried, if that chipping was slowly picking away at my hope filled heart. That one day a puncture would go too deep, that my hope would become less than “complete.”
Ironically, I worried that one day I would be less “taken by surprise.”
I had been in that black pit once, I have no desire or intention of going back. Not even the tiniest bit. I could sit down and rest, but there would be no back tracking. That, my heart couldn’t take.
My personal reflection was clearly not getting me anywhere so I took a minute and passed it on to the One whose thoughts are higher than my own. And I got a picture (further proof He understands me- and my appreciation for visual learning aids!)
I pictured my heart, the way I had been “imagining” it before- a chipping from the outside. But then it changed.
Duh. The chipping was not on the outside. It was on the inside.
The chipping may hurt, but growth usually does. Long story short, it was making my heart deeper- not smaller. Capable of holding more, not less.
Child, you are not wrong.
His picture of immediate victory may vary from mine- but my hope has never been misplaced. He is working, and He is winning. Actually, He has already won.
I cannot see the big picture from down here. But I trust Him. Meanwhile, I pray friends that you will not fear recklessly hoping, always. Because you are not wrong.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 15:13 (NIV)