I John 3:18

All original content copyright Jessica Nicole Schafer, 2007-2016.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

In the Face of Despair.

Sometimes life will beat the daylights out of us. I won't go into details, but the past three years have brought despair, loneliness, and hopelessness to my family's doorstep. Had someone told me years ago the things I would endure, I would simply say, "IMPOSSIBLE!". I would NOT believe it. It's too much to bear. I've seen my husband carry burdens that should not have been placed on him. I've seen my Daddy go through things no man should endure. I have seen many friends close to me live through tragedies that are horrible. I have seen many dark places myself. People have mentioned to me before that seeing the "positive" side of things will make it all better!!! However, sometimes in life, my friends...the positive side is a million miles away. Been there? Please tell me I'm not alone in this thing called life...

For so long I've beat myself up about feeling the way I do. I feel horrible at times for grieving. I feel guilty for hurting. I feel horrible because I've been told to "make lemonade" when life gives me these lemons!! But what about when I'm not getting lemons? What if I'm getting only silence? What if I'm getting darkness?? THEN WHAT?!? I learned such an important message of hope one day recently from a man who has a tendency to see things a little differently than most people. It was as if this message he was preaching to a large group of people was solely intended for my heart. I needed it. It has freed me. It has given me hope.

He said that maybe my faith and hope are stronger than I think. Maybe the mere fact that I still cry out to God shows the depth of my faith and hope in Him....because even through all the sorrow....I STILL choose to cry out to Him, to go to Him, to pray to Him, to hope in Him, that He will change things.

That. Changed. Me.

So I've come to a very big conclusion. I can't look at the despair, sorrow, loneliness, and emptiness surrounding me and NOT see God. I can't look at the hurting ones around me and NOT see God. He is here. I have to believe that...no, I GET to believe that. One of the biggest themes throughout the Bible is HOPE. The story of Irael=hope. The story of Job=hope. The story of Abraham and Sarah=hope. The story of Isaac and Rebekah=hope. The story of Joseph=hope. The story of creation=hope. The story of Noah=hope. The story of Jesus=HOPE.

Pickin' up what I'm puttin' down?

I can't, in any way, look at these stories, my stories, your stories....and NOT see hope. The thing that sticks out to me, though, is that in order to grasp the great hope we have in Him.....we DO need to see the very serious and sorrowful things that happen in our lives. Without the cross there was no Resurrection, right?

So I do. I look around, and I hurt. I wail some moments. I can't even find the words to describe the hurt some days. I wonder what the future holds in so many aspects. I wonder if this life will indeed bring some good news to my family. I bank on the fact that my tears WILL sow a harvest of joyful shouting! (Psalm 126:5)And I do all of this....and STILL hope. Because I believe that is what makes our faith so great. We have the audacity to look around, to see death, poverty, sorrow, and despair, and claim HOPE in the face of it. We GET to do that.

I think Job did it. Even when his "friends" found every reason to tell him he MUST have done something to anger God, he held out hope. He despaired, yet hoped. Through the many days and days and DAYS of hearing NOTHING from God, he still cried out to Him. When he heard nothing but silence, he STILL cried out to Him. He didn't give up that hope of knowing that something had to give eventually.

In Matthew 15, the woman mentioned in verses 21-28 asked for healing persistently, three times before Jesus answered. Perhaps her perseverance had something to do with it??? Maybe.

I guess I just wanted to share this story because isn't that what life is all about....our stories? This is a tiny part of my story.
Hope in the face of despair.
I will still hope.
I can't help but do it, even though many times throughout life I have many reasons to despair....I hope all the more. Easter is always just around the corner.

"Out of the ashes of hopelessness comes the fire of our hope." -Anne Wilson Schaef-

"At the bottom of the well, one can look up and see the sky." -Martha Whitmore Hickman-

"And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God hs been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." -Romans 5:3-5-

"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." -John 16:33-

"In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;" -I Peter 1:6-7-

P.S. I bet you can probably guess who that man was that helped me cling to hope in the midst of despair.

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