And still...we hope.

I have a new body.

This post likely be short because my “new” hands can’t type like my old ones could. Getting tangled over each other trying to reach for keys. Trying to remember how the words are meant to flow together. 

It feels so unfamiliar and disconnected in all the movements and sensations.

On February 26, 2018 I had a stroke that paralyzed my right side. During all the testing, doctors found a birth defect in my heart that caused the stroke, two brain aneurysms and a growth on my thyroid. I’ve got so much to unpack about those weeks in the hospital and the surgeries I am still facing…but those words don’t seem to be coming yet. I’m sure I’ll write about them with time.

The other day my son asked me if I’d ever be able to run and jump again. My answer?

“I hope so”.

Hope elevates and stabs simultaneously. It is the desire for something to come. An unfulfilled dream, promise or destiny. But along the way we get weary.

Chances are we've never met. But we are both hoping for something. Maybe it is family, finances, health, freedom from addiction, self-confidence, or a grand dream in your heart. For me it is to run and jump and live as I used to. To be free of surgeries and lab results.

We are all hoping.

In the dark nights and wild days we hope that God will be there. In our weakness, we pray He doesn’t disappear. 

In the Bible we hear about Abraham who believed “hope against hope” and all that. But this doesn’t feel like some great sermon illustration. It’s our lives. It just feels like waiting. The days turn into months…and sometimes those turn into years. And still we are left hoping. 

At some point doubt creeps in all of us. What did we do wrong? Is God punishing us for something? At what point do I throw in the towel? Hope hurts because we have to believe.

We begin to wonder if we sound ridiculous. ” I know that we have prayed for 5 years, but my son is going to be healed” , “God promised a wife for me. I know that someone is coming” , “Sure, this economy is bad. But God said to start this business”. Hope hurts because we have to risk.

We are forced to revisit disappointment over and over. Fight off discouragement and bitterness at unfulfilled desires. Our best efforts start to fall short. Rallying enough inner fight we face another day. Praying that this is the day, month or year of breakthrough. Hope hurts because it is exhausting. 

Usually when hope reaches the point of pain, we have been in the fight for awhile. Our resources and lives have been spent. Placing everything we are on the promise that God will be faithful. We make decisions on the premise that our hope will be fulfilled and our hearts will no longer be left wanting. Hope is all we have left, because we let go of everything else. Hope hurts because it is all on the line.

I am facing heart surgery, a thyroid biopsy and brain surgery. It can be overwhelming when I think of all that is still ahead in my recovery. I have no control over any of this and yet I cling to the Author of Everything. 

I simply stand in my place of need and wait for God to do what only He can. For many of us, that is our only option…to stand. Praying that God moves something somewhere.

Abilities and carnal strength are no match for the need. Our fleshly nature dies. Hope hurts because it kills us.

That is where the  Gospel comes in. It reaches into the blaring disappointment and reminds us why we hope. When I am too stubborn to look up, Jesus comes in after me. He gently pulls my face upword. Where my help comes from. Where my hope comes from.

I hope because despite the immediate situation, I know something more of Jesus. I understand the comfort of a generous Savior.

I hope because when there is nothing left in me there is always more of God.

Disappointment distracts us from the dream. Hope reminds us to endure until we reach the promise. 

 We cry in the process, but are ALWAYS victorious. In my need He is glorified and I am satisfied. I hope because this Gospel may be painful sometimes, but it is always true. The One who makes the promise is the One who keeps the promise.

 

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Liz Griffin