This word that I say dozens of times a day.
This principle that I’ve been taught to cling to and rest in.
This reality that is meant to be always accessible, trustworthy and fool-proof when it is placed and aligned with the Father and His heart.
This security, safe place, refuge and promise.
How did this word that is supposed to bring me such comfort and peace become a place of disbelief and confusion?
It is difficult to find yourself in the midst of chaos, a raging storm, a mountain that seems impossible to summit… But yet you know what is true, you know that God has told you to trust Him, to rest in Him, to believe Him, to HOPE in Him.
I work for an organization where our name not only has hope in the title but our mission is built upon the Hope that God would do the impossible in the lives of girls…. Girls who have been subject to the harshest realities, who have been slaves to generational sins and strongholds; burdened by the control, manipulation, abuse and shame they have come up against in their little lifespans thus far.
So when you look into their eyes, or the moment the Holy Spirit allows a glimpse into the battle within, and then when you actually become part of their story and healing process, your relationship with hope can begin to wane, sometimes suffer, and become easily questioned.
As a single cross-cultural worker in the Dominican Republic, living and working in a ghetto that others in my community have begun to call, “Sodom and Gomorrah,” because of the devastation involved within the 12 streets and mountainsides making up our barrio, I have had many moments of attack, defeat, and true suffering like I have never known it before.
Sometimes it isn’t even my own suffering that I endure, but rather I have learned to step into someone ELSE’S suffering and begun to intercede in a way that is both incredibly powerful and excruciatingly painful at the same time.
I call it the “realest reality” I’ve ever experienced because sometimes it is hard for me to see all that is going on before me as real, but yet there is more at stake than I have ever seen before in these individuals’ lives. When you begin to live alongside those who still aren’t even used to getting their basic needs met you are impacted in ways that are hard to truly understand unless you begin to live it with them.
And that’s what I’ve done.
I’ve stepped in. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. I’m the one telling the stories.
And in this 6 month journey thus far I have dealt with a broken heart almost every day, a spirit that feels like it is jumping out of my skin because of the darkness we go through, a joy that sometimes is so hard to find and surface, and a hope that has needed mending and rebuilding as the battle continues to rage.
But… My King. Has hidden His truth within me, He’s given me His word freely, and as I share my hurts, my frustrations, my failings, my confusions…
I always go back to the truth.
“This HOPE is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.” Hebrews 6:19
This verse is of comfort but still I am left wondering what this HOPE truly is… What is it that makes it so strong, so trustworthy? How can it be my anchor, how does it LEAD me into the holy presence of my Lord?
And then God began to speak to me…
“This hope has to do with promise. It has to do with MY plans, MY will, MY voice. It has to do with MY Kingdom and MY abilities. It has to do with how you trust Me, with how you invite Me in, with what you allow Me to carry for you.
Yes, your hope can be strengthened, renewed, even reborn if you allow it. This hope means that what’s dead can come to life, what’s been wasted can be repurposed, what is unaligned can be redirected. This hope means that My power is the greatest, and that I really can do the impossible.”
“Your hope in Me means that you trust Me enough to hold your destiny, and your submission to Me will bring you into the greatest safety. True hope means I can touch anything and make it new.”
Our hope reveals our trust in the God who sees everything.
It reveals what we believe about Him and who we believe Him to be.
If our hope is shattered then God simply isn’t coming through, if our hope is limited that means that God is just another one of the little g’s and He couldn’t possibly be all powerful. If our hope is non-existent then we won’t ever be able to have eyes to see the miracles in our midst, the provision, the grace and faithfulness of a good, good Father.
But the beautiful, redemptive, hard-to-believe truth is… He’s willing to take us in the midst of wherever we are.
He’s in the business of renewal no matter what we think of Him, no matter how much we’ve twisted His hope promise. Because He’s the one to put it back together for us, renew our vision, and remind us of what brought us into the beautiful battlefields in the first place, the seed of HOPE we started with from the beginning.
How’s your hope? Is it riding high or hanging by a thread?
Where do you see God in your hope journey?