To have a discussion of hope we must talk about the elephant in the room. Hope deferred. Hopelessness. The crushing weight of broken expectations. The relationship that didn’t work out. The loss of someone dear. The fractured marriage. The wayward child. The lost career. The illness that took over everything. The huge enormous hole that happened one way or another and left us burdened and distressed, to the point we think we will never get over it.
Hope deferred. Scripture says it makes the heart sick. The kind of sick that seeps into your soul. We all have some of this soul sickness. Life makes sure of that. The question is what do we do about it? Typically, we hide it with catch phrases rather than admit that we are crushed. Saying how we really feel…without hope…seems like an admission of small faith. Instead we say, “God is good, all the time” even when we don’t believe it. That somehow if we say we are broken by hopelessness that we are denying God’s power. Nothing could be further from the truth. Admitting the pain of hopelessness is the way to building faith, not quenching it. Saying I am without hope, but I believe anyway is the definition of faith.
This advent season reflecting on the pain of the world, and in my own heart, I find hope deferred. I find longing for something unnamable. I find soul sickness because expectations have been dashed. Yet, even with the despair all around me, I look for the light. I feel a spark deep, trying to be buried in the hopelessness of the world. Quenched. Snuffed out. Until…the breath of God, who is hope himself, blows upon it. Hope doesn’t depend on me, or my circumstances. Hope is a person. A light, who came into the darkness to dispel it. The hope candle is a reminder of this truth. If I can carry it with me, my hope deferred, will become a longing fulfilled.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life Proverbs 13:12
My Hopeless One, do not fret. I know the load you carry is heavy. I know the soul sickness is real. I do not pretend otherwise. The pain is unbearable. Please trust me with it. Please pour out your heart. I do not need pat answers and phrases that are far from your heart right now. I do not need you to pretend all will be well when you do not feel it. Tell me the truth. You will find that just sharing your heart with me will begin to lighten the load. Let me hear your disappointments and your sorrows. Tell me what is on your heart that is breaking it. Pour out your hopelessness. It is okay. I will not abandon you. I will hold you while you cry out to me. I will surround you with my love. The secret to my hope is to let me surround you. Do not think you are unworthy. There is no one worthy; however, your worthiness was covered by the baby in the manger. He was the hope of the world. Still is. You are worthy of hope. Let me fan it into flame. Let go of disappointment and make room for hope. Do not snuff it out, let it burn brightly.