These last few days have been filled with hope. A hope that started out full and expectant, but day by agonizing day, moment by heart-rending moment dwindled away. Down to a sliver... a tiny thread of a spider web... but still we desperately clung on .... hoping against hope ... that our hearts' desire would miraculously materialize. Hoping ... until... all hope was gone.
Or so it seemed.
At moments like these, I retreat inside. Crawl up and hide. Alone. Alone with my pain, my suffering, my unanswerable questions.
Have you ever been there?
Racked by an unexpected pain; one that is hot and searing and burns you to the core? A pain that is personal and deep.
Maybe you can relate. Maybe you've been there. And maybe you were alone in your suffering.
But in my loneliness, way down deep in the depths of me, I meet Hope.
Not the hope of this world that disappoints.
A Hope that picks me up and carries me at the very lowest and saddest times of my life. A Hope that promises never to leave me or forsake me.
A promise I can rely upon... even in my darkest moments.
"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." John 16:33
My heart breaks. I think of my loss.
And then I think of those who have no Hope... who suffer alone. And I pray that they would know that it doesn't have to be that way.
My heart swells and aches with raw emotion. Pain.. Suffering... but in the midst... Hope... and Gratitude.
Gratitude for God's 'never giving up, always and forever love' for us. A love that is relentless in His pursuit of us. A love that is not earned, but gifted. A love that knows no bounds and can never be defeated. Never.
A love that beckons us to come... just as we are... alone and suffering... to accept His gift. The gift of His presence with us.
A Presence that embraces us, lifts us up, comforts us, empowers us, transforms us. A Presence that, God in his mercy, assured me that my dear brother felt... and embraced. A presence that gets me through the storm.
A presence that I am eternally grateful for.
For my friends, when it all comes down to it, when everything else is stripped away... the only thing that matters... that has any eternal significance is that we understand and experience the love of Christ for us.
So as I sit in my suffering... not really alone... but lovingly nestled in the arms of my Father... I pray for you... the one who suffers alone... that you
And that you may place your trust in Him... the only Hope that endures... so that you may never ever have to suffer alone, again.
This song - 'Oh, My Soul' from Casting Crowns, seems to have been written just for me... and for you... when we feel alone... but we are not alone.
May you find comfort in its words.