“It is OK to have hope and to be in deep pain. In fact, hope is the only thing that will overcome the hurt.” – Hope Heals
Hope is something with which many of us wrestle. On the surface, hope sounds like a pure, simple, and wonderful thing. Positive in every way, a perfect word for decorative plaques and kind sentiments. However, those of you who have held onto hope for that particular, precious something for a very long time know that hope is complicated. Hope can be flat-out exhausting. Hope can test you. And maintaining hope for the long haul can be outright discouraging. Days have a way of turning into years and hope can transform from bright and light to dim and heavy. Another burden for the weary to carry.
This post is prompted by a dream I recently had, a dream in which John was working with the director of his new school while I was in the room. He was put in the quad position (on hands and knees) and miraculously began to take off crawling around the room! I was filled with joy, unbelief and happy tears. Even in my dream, I wanted to make certain this was NOT a dream and even pinched both of my arms to make sure. I was convinced; it was real!! A dream full of hope, right? A vision perhaps? Yes, I think so; however, I woke up quite depressed when I realized this dream was not yet a reality. And the fear and worry set in… what if this never becomes a reality? Dreams such as these that once gave life and cherished hope can now pour salt in the wound… highlighting the years of unwavering but draining hope.
Fortunately, I find hope is yet another thing that is redeemed in the Lord’s economy even when the world and our experiences want to corrupt it. Hope is something worth fighting for, but with the Lord’s perspective, it does not actually require a fight or maintenance of your stance on the front lines of combat. Who can keep that up day after day, week after week? Every soldier needs a break from the front lines… The ability to move beyond the hope prompted by crisis and into the hope prompted by peace in our ultimate outcome.
How do we disallow hope, then, from becoming a burden warring against our very souls? I think we pray and ask God for help. And then we choose His peaceful hope over a warring hope that originates in fear and worry. Confident rest versus flailing desperation.
For a long time, my hope has been a warring one. I imagine this will continue to crop up as worry seizes me and drives me to frenetic research, additional opportunities for John, new magic bullets to try. These things in and of themselves are not negative, but my approach certainly can be. A warring hope makes living so very difficult as you go about each day worried sick. But a peaceful hope points to our ultimate hope in Jesus and allows ourselves to be carried as we witness the Lord at work.
So how is this fleshed out in practical terms? For me, it means giving John the very best yet holding daily change loosely so that burden and worry do not weigh me down and rob my joy. In discussing all of this with my counselor yesterday, she called this a “quiet hope.” I love that image. To carry my hope with a quiet, secure heart and to simply serve as a witness to God’s healing work in John’s life… celebrating each moment and change that comes his way while receiving the gift of loving him exactly where he is.
Yes, we will hold onto our hope for John’s continued and full healing. But I am praying (and ask you to pray as well) that we will release the striving, warring, anxious energy that merely masquerades as hope and, instead, choose the hope that brings life and peace.
“It is good that one should have hope in and wait quietly for the salvation (the safety and ease) of the Lord.”
-Lamentations 3:26, AMP
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.”
-Hebrews 6:19-20, NIV
Happy Reformation Day!