It’s my first post on this blog and it just so happens that I have a lot to say about hope. Coming out of a long winter and having lived a life that has often felt relentless, I can surprisingly speak quite freely and excitedly about real hope and real gladness. Maybe better termed- joy.
I don’t believe that God wants the storms to batter us. Yet, I don’t believe that God promises they will cease- even the ones most painful to our hearts, the ones we pray for daily and fiercely.
And in the midst of this (what some might call a conundrum), my heart is glad. In the midst of the many storms I felt so brutally this past year, and the past 20 years, my heart can rest and be glad.
I am glad because I know Christ in the wreckage. He gives me shelter when I need to rest and courage when I need to stand in the wake, exposed to the harsh un-expecting reality of the nature in which we live.
My heart is glad because it has found the joy that is in the knowing. In all of it, you can know Him. The pain, the sorrow the suffering…even there you will find Him. He shares it all.
All of the storms are just another deeper place to know Christ. In that place of utter loneliness, devoid of all love, I must choose- Jesus or death. I choose Jesus, and there He lays with me, weeps with me. In that place of utter betrayal, I look up and I see, so clearly, for the first time, Christ nailed to a tree. His blood and sweat spill onto my forehead, and He says “I felt it too.” Oh how intimately we can know Christ when we suffer with Him! And I know him better now. And my heart is glad.
In this place of immense suffering there exists a deep relating, a deep knowing, a deep understanding- one for the other. Only there, do we encounter the opportunity to embrace or reject the most intimate connection which put simply can be found in no other place. I know him better now. And my heart is glad.
I am grateful that Christ can and does give us hearts which should expect and hope to bear the burdens of those around us even as we experience no results, no returns. I am no expert at this- I cannot always love without love in return and hope without expectation. It is immensely difficult and I do a poor job, but I do try, mostly because I must. Because these are people, breathing people. They are my sisters and mothers, brothers and lovers. I continue to long for the healing of those who suffer, including my dear loved ones, including myself.
And though this longing has led and will lead to disappointment and sadness and even hurt- my heart is glad as it rests with Christ. As I know him in each moment, as I share it all with him, as He shares it all with me.
My longings for wholeness and healing are not unfounded nor empty. They will find final rest in the full and eternal completeness we have in Christ in the end. Yes, my heart can be glad in this, it can rest in Christ’s promises; my heart can hope in the one true hope which is Christ.