Death of Hope   6 comments

As Kimberly and I walked our dogs yesterday, I shuffled through my disjointed thoughts and feelings, arranging and rearranging them, trying to sort out with her the contours of my despair.  For two weeks I have felt crushed by the racial divides in our country, but unable to speak, silenced by the angry retorts that always come.  “Why do I feel such deep despair in hearing that dissent?” I asked Kimberly.  “It’s natural to be discouraged,” I went on, “since I smart when my thoughts are rejected and I grieve for those condemned by the critical reactions.  I can see a handful of reasons to be disheartened, but my anguish is so much deeper than that and crushes me at hearing just one or two retorts.  Why do I despair?”

After an hour of trying to fit the emotional pieces together it became clear that I was suffering from the collapse of my worldview.  I have struggled for two decades with my own impotence to change the world in some small way (as I mentioned here),  but I faced that personal uselessness by clinging to a broader hope for the world–that others would bring the change I could not.  If I was not a player on the winning team, I could still cheer on the good guys from the bleachers.  This year it has slowly been dawning on me that my hope is misplaced.  My team will not save the day, we cannot save the day, we are not saviors.  In fact, we are all in as much need of a Savior as the rest of the world around us.  We are all broken.  And along with our broken world we await the day of redemption.

I don’t mean to suggest that we can bring no good to the world.  We must work to bind up our little tattered corners of society, but ultimately it is a patchwork affair, a jerry-rigging until the Great Healer comes to bring us true and full peace at last.  As grace-infused people, we do not offer a resolution on this day, but a resolve until that day, we hold up a light of hope in this dark, troubled world.  That doesn’t seem much like the “Christmas spirit” of sleigh bells, bright lights, and belly-laughing Santas, but perhaps I misunderstand the true meaning of advent hope.

“Oh, come, oh, come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel that mourns in lowly exile here until the Son of God appear.”  Those words rang so true to my forlorn spirit, that they brought me to tears this week, tears of heartache but also of hope: “Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.”  We cling to the first advent in expectation of the second.

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Posted December 11, 2014 by janathangrace in Personal

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6 responses to “Death of Hope

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  1. Beautifully said and so true.

  2. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I love your theme of hope. I have come to realize (only after the exposure of the false foundation of what my hope lay in and the despair that followed), that hope and meaning in day to day living are divine gifts and tremendous ones at that. I am so deeply thankful that there is a sure and true Foundation.

    I am grateful for you, for your openness and faithfulness through the dark and painful path you have been on. God has been using you to build His kingdom and will continue to. May He give you and Kimberly deep and abiding joy during this Season of Hope.

    • Thank you for sharing, however briefly, your own journey. Knowing that others can relate to our experience is always encouraging. Unlike the typical understanding of joy, I find for me that it comes much closer to the idea of hope–strength to persevere in the sadness rather than a happy feeling that removes the sadness. in other words, it is more the expectation of future relief rather than the experience of present relief, but it does shift my pain from intolerable to tolerable.

  3. Great reminder where our “true” hope really is!! The Lord continues to use your journey in my life and the timing of many of your posts has been exactly where the Lord has me. You continue to challenge me to stay true to who God has made me to be and courageously live that out before others. As alone as I often feel, I am thankful for the reminder that we are not going in alone. Oh, come oh, come Immanuel

    • Brett thank you so much for your very encouraging words. Nothing makes me feel better than to be part of someone else’s encouragement to face life with courage and step forward into the grace of God. And It also feels really good to know there are others out there who are on the same journey, facing the same struggles. Connection is so vital to each of us in our journeys. So thank you again for sharing. God bless you with an overflow of grace for the difficulties you face each day!

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