Spirituality

Hope in a time of loss

Ann Voskamp, beloved Canadian author, says this pandemic has brought us so many losses, and that loss is a four letter word. And it’s true, the losses have been heavy and brutal – from loss of jobs, to time with our family and friends, to the increases in mental health issues, to sickness, death and more. 


Yet, Ann also says,

“Loss may be a four letter word — but so is Hope.” 

Hope


As I write this, I am looking out the sliding glass doors in my kitchen. Though it is chilly today where I live – I can see glimpses of Spring. There is the green leaf, freshly unfurling just outside my window. Hope it breathes. Green, it comes again. Always again. No matter the bitter, chilled, frozen winter. Life lives after death. 

Covid-19 arrives

The death of our lives before Covid-19. The shock has winded us, knocked us down. Life changed. And most likely it has changed for the foreseeable future. 


Still, against all hope – hope calls. Audacious and clear. It beckons with the sun, green buds and blossoming flower.

Life dares, spring speaks, hope sings. Because God, He carves out Hope for us in Spring, in Earth’s Resurrection.

The in-between


But we are living in the middle. The in-between. Like living in exile, wandering in the desert. This season we would not choose –  the life we are living versus the one we wish we were living.

The story we live in


In ‘Refiner’s Fire: The Struggle and Triumph of John the Baptist,’ Rachel Starr Thomson, says:
“What God is doing might look bad or foolish in the moment… But wait and see {what} Jesus is saying. To be clear, he wasn’t asking for a reasonless faith—there were plenty of good reasons to think God was working. He was simply asking the people to wait and see how it all shook out. If the wisdom of God was at play here, the end of the story would make it clear.

There’s a caution in this to those of us who would judge the work of God in our own day and in our own lives. To some extent, we are always in the middle of the story. If you’ve ever watched a movie or read a novel (and I’m assuming you have), you’re familiar with that middle bit where absolutely everything is going wrong and there is no possible way the good guys will win (or get married, or live happily ever after). 


Except they will, of course; we know that because we’ve seen so many stories, and the pattern is always the same. It always gets darkest before the dawn. In terms of story structure there’s even a name for this: it’s called the “bleakest moment” or “the darkest hour.” 


Interestingly, it’s also—often—the moment when the hero makes a pivotal decision that ultimately determines how the story will end. And nine times out of ten, that decision is just this—The hero decides not to give up.

 
Today, and tomorrow too, you’re the hero. 
Don’t give up.”

Photo by Lina Trochez on Unsplash

We know of course, that real life isn’t all “happy endings.” But the point that Rachel makes stands – our choices do influence our lives. Therefore, we don’t give up.

Cling to hope


And we hang on. Because as hard as these days are – we are developing perseverance and endurance. We are a resilient people. The breath of His Spirit runs through our veins -bringing hope. Though we fall, we will rise again.


Romans 5:4 says, “… patience {perseverance} develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are steady.” 

Living Bible (TLB).

Anchored in hope


So, we anchor that hope in Him. The One who promises to never leave or forsake us. He who weeps for and with us. God, our refuge and strength. He gives us the grace we need for each day.


In this time of exile from all that we knew, we look at what author Nicole Zasowski says, “we remember our home is in Him—a Person who cannot be taken away from us.”


So we cling to Him. Our hope. Come what may.

Author

judy.g.gibson@gmail.com

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