When Hope is dead
And all life has gone
There is a hidden shoot
That will spring up strong.
For shrouded in darkness
Remains the truth
That love conquers still
And the Word will bear fruit.
And while we wait
For that which seems lost
Beyond imagination and reason
Faith breathed through the cost.
As in dying Hope lives
Clearing a path for the Way
Following death to the grave
Hope rises in us forever & a day.
I was surprised by the deep emotions of betrayal, hurt and despair.
It was the Saturday before this past Easter and I was attending a Silent Retreat that took us through Jesus’ last days before His death. In an instant, I felt like I was right there, gazing upon Him. Our Hope, God incarnate, humiliated like a thief - broken, bleeding, weak and helpless, dying on the cross.
It's as if I was in a traumatic paralysis staring at the reality of my situation.
I watched with disillusionment and in disbelief. How could this be? I asked myself. He must have been an imposter. He has betrayed us! We gave our lives for this, and now it is all over. What a waste! What fools we are. And now, there is nowhere else for me to go...
While my experience this past Easter was profound and transformative in my relationship with God, I have continued to walk through some difficult decisions that have lead to my present sacrifice.
The marriage that I had hoped, prayed and trusted God for years, had seemed to finally come, in a sweet relationship and eventual engagement. Not without its challenges, this love relationship seemed like God’s specific word to me beginning to come to pass. But then there were some stalls, some issues that seemed to be holding us back and needed to be resolved before we could commit to marriage. We attempted to work through these with excellent counsel and outside help. However, nothing seemed good enough. And so, the engagement came to a complete stop after our inability to resolve what was hindering.
Through the ups and downs over the past few months and with the final death of this hoped for relationship, I have found myself in the shoes of the first disciples; speechlessly staring at Jesus dying on the cross saying, "Here I am again, Lord."
Is this not true of our life of faith in Christ?
We receive hope, faith and vision from God’s written and spoken word. We pray, we anticipate, and we follow Jesus, loving on Him daily. We experience the normal ups and downs, and our faith continues to grow deep roots. And even when we waiver, we can at least celebrate and praise God for His goodness and His unchanging nature.
But then the unexpected happens.
There is disappointment.
There is betrayal.
There is pain.
Even when the promise is still in sight- the words that God spoke with utter clarity and confirmation grows dim; clouded over by the mistaken reality that what was once intended, has left and cannot be recovered.
This is not the way it was meant to be. This is not what I was expecting! Strong emotions of disbelief, anger, fear and sorrow swarm over me like a flood... and then like waves.
Before I knew it, I was standing at the foot of the cross with the first disciples, as the Word of God is crucified.
The gift of being in these shoes as a present day disciple is that we know what happened after Jesus’ lifeless, broken body laid in His resting place. Isaiah 11’s prophecy of the Messiah is understood in the glorious light of John 20’s empty tomb and witness of the resurrected Christ. We know that God’s word is true because of Jesus’ victory and the Holy Spirit’s presence as a seal of the promise of what is to come. We can trust God’s proven character and rest in his outlandish love for us.
Just as in the case of Jesus’ death, when the word God has spoken to us seems hopeless, lost and dead, we can trust that God is working in the unseen to bring about his highest and best.
With this in mind, I was able to receive an end to my past relationship; and keep my hope fixed in God’s good plan for me.
Is the hope for what I believe God has put in my heart dead? May it never be! But the way in which I anticipated it to come to pass has died, and for that I do grieve and feel the pain of loss. To ignore this would be foolish, but to dwell with it beyond its time is also not healthy.
The pain and loss of unmet expectations and the death of the way we thought “it” would be, presents us with a vital opportunity.
We can dwell in the shadows of the pain long after the time of grief has passed, or we can choose to toss the burden of loss and disappointment onto the crucified Messiah, who promises new life through His resurrection. The latter option offers us God’s way forward and veritable proof that His word will spring up in and through our lives. It will work out for our good and for His glory! Indeed, Jesus, our risen Saviour, is our hope for today and forevermore!