During our most recent loss, I wrote in my journal:
“It has not escaped my notice how different my hope is this time around. It used to be I hoped everything with my pregnancy would be ok. That life would be ok. That I’d only be given a happy ending. Now, my hope is that God truly is Who He says He is and that all I believe about Him and His plan and His Word, is true. That heaven is real and this truly is not all there is. That all will be redeemed into greater beauty.
My faith becomes so weak at times, that I waver in all that I believe and become a bit frightened that I’m believing in something that is not the truth. . . and yet, how is it not truth, for it has transformed my life to the very core of my being.
I don’t need life here to be ok if all that I believe in is real. My belief system was not enough in the past. Now it is—for it clings tenaciously to a sovereign God and Lord who is Redeemer.
My hope has truly been stripped down to God and God only. A change in circumstances is no longer the basis of my hope. He is, plain and simple.
He. Is. My. Hope.
Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Romans 8:24b-25
There is a huge difference between hoping in circumstances and hoping in God.
When we seek false hope in circumstances…
~ We are hoping in that which has absolutely no guarantee. Life is fragile and changes on a dime. To hope in this is to place hope on a weak foundation that we have no control over and will not always go as planned.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Psalm 20:7
O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Psalm 39:4
~ When these circumstances change in a way that crushes and breaks, we have nothing left to hold on to. The one thing we were clinging to is now ashes and we are left empty handed.
For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15
~ Our emotions shift and change with these circumstances. We allow what we feel to ride the wave of our situation. This is exhausting and takes an eventual toll.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12
~ This false hope still leaves us empty. Our hearts are looking for something greater than our circumstances. While situations going “our” way can bring happiness, they cannot bring joy and peace that goes beyond human understanding and transcends our always-shifting human emotions.
Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself. 1 Samuel 12:20b-22
~ Hope in circumstances is based on a one-dimensional, limited human perspective. There is more beyond what we can see. The ripples of this life affect the forever of glory, but we see this only dimly as through a mirror, and so, hold out hope in that which we do not fully understand.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12
True hope, which is found only in God, is…
~ based on a bigger perspective with a God that is bigger than us, has ways higher than ours and thoughts greater than ours.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
~ based on constancy. God does not change. Therefore, that which we are basing our hope on does not change.
God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? Numbers 23:19
“For I the Lord do not change” Malachi 3:6a
~ This results in emotions that remain even keel no matter what comes.
He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD. Psalm 112:7
~ based on eternity and the redemption that eternity brings to all heartache. God promises over and over to turn our mourning to joy, our ashes to beauty, and our weakness to strength. It may not be in our time our in our way. It may not even be the same redemption that we think it should be. However, God’s purpose will always be fulfilled…every time.
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. Isaiah 61:3(kjv)
~lastly, exhibited through our thanksgiving and rejoicing in our sufferings. As children of God, our primary goal is to become Christ-like. Even when it hurts, we can find joy in knowing that we are being conformed through our pain. We can find peace and assurance that we are walking in the truth – truth that will set us free.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5
Original material by Melissa J Carswell, MA, BCCC. Holly M Besser. Perfect Joy Ministries ©2013. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bsbp25p02-14-13