When You Are Desperate to Find Hope in the Dark

When You Are Desperate to Find Hope in the Dark

Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks
A new and glorious morn
{O’ Holy Night}

A close friend of our family was visiting from out of state last month. We had decided to take a short drive up to our mountain community, which is famous for its apple orchards. We were hankerin’ to introduce our friend to a seasonal favorite: apple cider donuts.

However, what occurred on the way was not in our plan. Along the curvy route leading up the hill, a family of deer suddenly ran across the road ahead of our car. One buck bolted out from the thicket just in front of the passenger side. Tragically the deer was caught under the front fender and did not survive.

We were all quite shaken, but grateful we were okay. After getting the situation cleaned up with a nearby rancher, we sat in the car and prayed. Aware of how God mysteriously allows tragedy, how we are poured out with Christ through our suffering.

Photo by Andrew Ridley on Unsplash

It seems that in a season of natural dying and decay, many around us are suffering unimaginable grief.

The falling leaves and empty branches, frozen soil and barren earth remind us that there is a time for dying. These things also remind us that new life is coming, and we know we must step into the darkness of winter.

When the sun sets on a day we chase that golden light as it spreads across the earth, catching the hills with a flood of heavenly light. The sunset reminds us of greater glory, of longing, and hopeful expectation.

We must embrace the dark of the hallowed night and let it do a deeper work in us. Living things grow in the dark. O Lord, let us find You there.

Christmas may hold painful memories in a season when we’re desperately searching for hope.

Two years ago our local community was struck by tragedy: terror at a Christmas party. Death and loss mingled with tinsel and lights. The headlines left us all searching for hope.

Another hard blow that year, my husband had unexpectedly lost his job. Unemployed during the holidays, he nearly took a job that would have moved us hundreds of miles away. In God’s perfect timing, my husband was offered a job that now allows him to work from home.

Thinking back on that season reminds me of how others brought hope to my family. The prayers of friends, gifts by our door, a free Christmas tree, and presents beneath.

‘Tis the season for the hopeful, but how can we be full when we feel so empty?

Have we been emptied of the stuff that matters—the substance of things hoped for?

We’ve been poured out in a long drought of hurting hearts. Some of us are shaking our heads, saying enough is enough. Enough destruction, enough chaos, enough death–-we’re all left longing for the stuff of miracles.

And you know what? We should be saying enough. Enough floundering and flailing. Enough flaunting a counterfeit faith gone flat.

When is enough, enough?

Only God’s grace could ever be enough.

Grace takes us from flabby faith to fit—ready with a shield, a breastplate of righteousness, a helmet of salvation, a belt of truth, feet that are fitted with shoes to bring the gospel of peace—and the sword we carry is the stronger-than-steal word of God (see Ephesians 6:10-17).

We are praying for everlasting change, from stony hearts to steadfast hearts.

Would we dare to ask, where is hope?

Hope was born with skin on. Hope comes close to the brokenhearted. Hope laid down His life and then rose again. Hope came to save the world.

Hope moves in and makes full so that hopefully we may receive the abundant life Christ came to give. We do not give up on hope because it is born from hallelujahs, and courage, and perseverance, and from sacrifice.

Hope searches. Hope trusts. Hope restores. Hope does not give up. Hope pours out empty and fills up on the fullness of grace.

Hope is like a golden cord connecting you to heaven…Cling to hope, and My rays of Light will reach you through the darkness. –from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

When darkness encroaches, the light will always push back the dark.

When the light of the Son arises, new life comes bursting forth in glorious day.

The shifting light of dawn changes the face of the clouds as they sail across the sky. The way our circumstances look may change, but God’s love only continues to rise on our circumstances. Morning causes me to marvel at the wonder of God’s faithfulness.

If faith is the assurance of things unseen, then hope colors the way we see them. The wonder of hope is finding reasons to be thankful in spite our circumstances–even the hard. Maybe especially then.

And so I go in search of hope in He who came to overcome. He is our Immanuel: God with us.

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}

 

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Comments

  1. This might be my favorite line ever, and one that will stick with me: “Have we been emptied of the stuff that matters—the substance of things hoped for?” I may feel empty and short on patience, money, and ease, but I’m not empty of what I hope for! -jill

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