Of all of the things that God asks of us – faith, prayer, loving our enemies, community, following his will – I think hope can be the hardest.
Hope is the hardest when there is nothing – and I mean nothing – that you can do.
Hope is hard when a friend or family member hours away is diagnosed with cancer, and you can’t go to doctor’s appointments or chemo treatments with them. You can’t take over dinner or clean up their house for them or watch their dogs or their kids. You’re far enough away that you feel pretty much helpless. All you can do is pray.
Hope is hard when you hear of a friend’s marriage falling apart but you aren’t supposed to know – you found out by accident – so you can’t say anything or help in any way. You can’t prod or pry because then they’ll know you know. All you can do is pray.
Hope is hard when a friend loses a baby to miscarriage and you can’t be there in person to comfort her. You can’t hold her hand and cry with her because you live too far away. All you can do is pray, and call, and pray some more.
So many times we tie hope to what we can do, what we can accomplish to help make something better. We’re hopeful that it will turn out alright because we can do something to help. Even if it’s just cooking or cleaning or calling – we can do something, so it will be alright.
But that’s not how hope works. Hope is so much more than just believing that everything is going to be okay.
Because sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s not okay.
But even in the midst of it not being okay, we still have hope, because our eyes are fixed not on the temporal, but the eternal. Or, that’s the way it should be. We’re supposed to live kingdom-focused lives, lives that honor and glorify God, not man.
Hope is still there in the midst of the funeral. In the operating room six hours after the surgery was supposed to be over. In the middle of chemo. In the middle of an ugly divorce after infidelity.
The world doesn’t understand hope, because our hope is in Christ. Our hope doesn’t fail, doesn’t end, and doesn’t depend on what happens in this life.
When you feel like your hope is fading, or when you can’t do anything to help, turn to the Lord in prayer. Prayer isn’t nothing. It’s everything. And ask God to focus your life and your eyes on the eternal hope, on His faithfulness, and to live in that faith.
Hope in the Lord.