Hope When It Seems Hopeless
I took a bit of a blogging break this past week. I didn’t intend to, but God is slowly teaching me to reorder my priorities. If I had it my way, I would be writing here every day, sharing my thoughts that are always brewing, bubbling under the surface.
But… I have a family who I love dearly, little eyes that watch me and look to me for guidance. I have a husband who relies on me to take care of our home so that he can faithfully carry out the ministry God has called him to. I have a sister and family who traveled to see us this past week and time spent with them is always treasured. There are really no words for the blessing of family- family that is so dear! And I have friends who pour into me and who I am blessed to pour into.
All of these things mean that sometimes, I don’t get the opportunity to write like I would like to. But today is the Saturday between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. It is always a day that is rich with meaning. And I don’t want to miss the opportunity to share my thoughts.
On Monday, we took a trip to Watkins Glen State Park, a must see park that has been compared to Rivendell of Lord of the Rings fame. I had no doubt that my sister would love this place and that her heart would be captivated by it as mine has been. We had a lovely drive, it was a gorgeous day, but then we arrived at the park only to find that the path through the gorge was closed due to wintry conditions.
I felt my heart sink. We had traveled so far and I had been anticipating this trip with my sister ever since we discovered it 2 years ago. My anticipation moved from hope to hopeless in the space of 30 seconds.
But I had just told my sister about how I have been learning to make the most of every opportunity, to not back down from adventure simply because it doesn’t line up with my expectations. And so, I determined in my heart to make the most of the opportunity we did have.
We were able to hike a path overlooking the gorge and while it was not the full experience, it was still beautiful and it gave us a different perspective then we would have had walking through the gorge. We were able to enjoy one another, there was a great deal of laughter and there were still photo opportunities that none of us regret!
On days like today, my mind goes to what the disciples, the followers of Jesus were experiencing. They had accepted that Jesus was the Messiah their hearts had been longing for. They had seen the miracles, they had sat under his teaching, they knew that he was more than just another prophet. But then they watched him die.
And here they were on Saturday, reeling from the events of the past week. A week that had started with Jesus being celebrated as he returned to Jerusalem. A week that had turned horribly wrong when one of his followers betrayed him for 30 pieces of silver. The disciples had agonized as they watched their teacher treated with incomprehensible injustice. And they had turned their backs on the horrific scene before their eyes, because they couldn’t fathom such hatred, such abuse and they couldn’t imagine being treated in the same way because of their relationship to Jesus.
The euphoria had quickly turned to despair and I imagine that Jesus’ “people” were reeling from all that they had felt and seen over the past few days. How could they make sense of it all?
We know the end of the story and if I could travel back in time, I would want to say just wait!!! Your sorrow will be turned to joy! Your hopelessness, your despair will once again find victory! Jesus wins!!!
But sometimes, we don’t get to know the end of the story and we are living in the Saturday- in the in between time. And how do we hope in those times?
When life seems hopeless, we need to ask ourselves what are we focusing on? Are we living in the disappointment, the things that have not lived up to our expectations? Are we holding onto our despair, our hopelessness?
Or are we willing to look beyond ourselves, to search for what God might have for us here and now? Are we trusting in Him? Do we have the faith that He is truly God, that His will and His plan WILL be accomplished?
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
~Helen H. Lemmel, 1922