The last few months have been one of the most trying times in my life. I’m sure many of you can relate. When life hits, often it hits very hard. Sometimes, so hard that it takes your breath away.
As we embrace a season of joy, thankfulness, and celebration many of us are gritting our teeth, covering our eyes, and fighting with all our strength to hold onto hope. Desperately refusing to allow our hearts to sink into deep despair. Maybe you’re fighting through stolen loss, unmet expectations, unexpected betrayal, heart-gripping rejection, overcoming grief, failure, shame, and yes the “it’s not supposed to be this way” deep heartache. Maybe you have felt the last year is not one to celebrate but has felt more like a dark shadow hanging over your soul.
Well, today I want to speak to your ever hoping, but sinking soul. To that dark corner of your heart where you hide when life gets overwhelmingly out of control, and you want to give up. To that space in you that no one knows but you and the lonely grip of lingering hope.
I want you to know first. God is good. Even when life is bad. Even when life throws you down the river and you feel unseen, unwanted, and unworthy of redemption. God’s goodness is not reserved for the good. The perfect. The religious. The ‘have everything together people’. No, His goodness is for you and for me in our darkest valley. His goodness is His promise to our hurting hearts in the middle of the darkest storms of our lives.
I hate that we live in a broken world. I hate that my wounds are fresh, and my loss so unmistakably real. I hate that I grieve a life stolen. I hate that in this world we suffer unjustly and often never see justice. I hate that you hurt. I hate that our present darkness blinds us of shining hope in trust-worthy Truth.
So, I want to sound an alarm to your hurting soul, that during the midst of the valley of the shadow of death, God has not abandoned you and His goodness waits close to carry you.
You see, my friend, He really is in control. He really is Master of all. He really is gracious, compassionate, and full of mercy. He really is the voice softly calling you to draw near and bring your hopelessness to His arms.
He sees your tears. In fact, He captures them in bottles.
” You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” (Psalms 56:8)
One day He will present you the bottles filled with every tear He caught as you wept bitterly not understanding the weight of pain you shouldered. He isn’t angry at you because of your failure. He doesn’t reject us in our weakness but seeks us more closely in our confusion and loss.
You need to know, God never caused your pain, but He waits patiently to redeem it. To turn what is evil to good. To embrace your brokenness and create a beautiful monument of grace for the world to see. He never wastes our pain. He never throws away our loss. He never rejects our rejection. No, He redeems it. He lavishes us with unmistakable loving kindness and goodness, despite it.
This last week I attended the funeral of my dad. No casket. No urn. No pictures. He took his life and left behind a path of what seems to be unredeemable brokenness and insecure closure. My heart aches at a life stolen by the enemy. I feel overshadowed with unmatched pain and gripping loss.
But I choose Hope. I reject hopelessness. I choose joy. I reject defeat. I choose JESUS. I reject unbelief.
Holding onto hope means you choose what you cannot see in the present for what you know is certain in the future. You hold onto what has apprehended you, long before you faced this present heart crushing moment. Holding onto hope means choosing to believe God is good, when life feels bad. Choosing Truth over the ‘what if’s and, ‘ it is not fairs.’
It means deciding to close your eyes in JESUS and not the dark corner of your heart. It means it’s okay to let go and cry in His arms and allow Him to hold onto you, when you don’t have the strength to hold onto Him. It means asking for help, from those He has placed who are near and refusing to allow isolation to steal your comfort.
Holding onto Hope means JESUS holding onto You.
Friend, I know this may be a dark, lonely season, but know this, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. The same God who parted the Red Sea, rescued three Hebrew boys from a fire, shut the mouth of a lion, healed a woman seen as desperately unclean, touched the eyes of a blind beggar, raised a friend and brother for weeping sisters from the dead.
He sees YOU.
He is Immanuel, “God with us.” He loves to show up in our dark hour and be piercing light. To set our souls free of torment and remove the shame of this world’s broken pieces.
He loves You. Yes, YOU! All of YOU!
Allow me to encourage you to let Him capture your tears and wipe away your doubt. Call out to Him. Just say, JESUS.
He is waiting.
When you do, He will hold onto you in ways, you can’t hold onto Him. In the power of His name lies Your and my lasting Hope.
“And His name will be the hope of all the world.” (Matthew 12:21)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:3-6)