Hope comes in many forms.
An acceptance letter to a university you’ve dreamed of attending. A request to go on a date. Lines on a pregnancy test confirming a much awaited pregnancy. A job interview. Putting an offer on a house. A marriage proposal. A change in leadership. Favorable results from a biopsy.
And just as quickly as hope can arrive with its promises and its joy, it can be taken.
A rejection letter. Asking someone to go on a date, and receiving a response of no. A negative pregnancy test, or a positive pregnancy test at a time when you aren’t ready. Not being invited to attend the interview. A rejection of your home offer. The end of a relationship. A change in leadership. The news that you weren’t wanting to hear from your biopsy.
There is a fine line between the two. In one moment, with one phone call, one letter, one response, you can be filled with hope and the promise of things to come. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, in that same instant, your hopes can be dashed.
I have been on both sides, and I’m sure you can pinpoint times in your life when you have been, too.
Maybe you are there right now.
One side is filled with promise, joy and expectancy and the other can be filled with heartache, disappointment, pain, and even jealousy.
Hope is something we cling to, in good times and in bad. I believe we all are clinging to hope in some way right now. Hope that the vaccine will create herd immunity and that our lives can return to some semblance of normal. Hope that the number of positive covid cases will begin to go down. Hope that we are on the verge of positive change. Hope that this year will be better than the last.
Friends, I don’t know what it is you are going through today. I don’t know if you are feeling full of hope and optimism. I don’t know if you have just received the news you’ve been waiting for, or if you’ve just hung up the phone and heard news that made your heart sink to the floor.
We are all going through something. And unless we are close to someone, we don’t know the things they are facing.
That is why we need to extend grace. And mercy. Compassion. And love. Not just to the people who are easy to love, but to every person we encounter.
Because for some, today is a day they will forever remember in a positive light; and for others, today is a day they would rather forget. We all have both of these moments woven throughout our stories.
As I grow older, I am learning to be cautious of where I put my hope. While I get excited about things that are happening in my life, and while I feel hopeful about things to come, I cannot place all of my hope on any one material thing, or person. If I put all of my hope in a job, my marriage, my children, wealth, success, my friends, leaders, I am bound to be let down at one time or another.
It is inevitable.
We will not always get what we want. We will not always hear the news we want to hear. We will not always be happy with the way things are going in our relationships.
But the trick is to not let those moments break us. It’s learning to move forward in the midst of pain and disappointment. It’s leaning into God and knowing that He is the only place where we can place all of our hope; and trusting whatever outcome we receive, that He has made a way.
Even if we can’t see it.
When we place our hope in Him, we can more confidently face those moments that threaten to steal our hope, and our joy. Knowing that when one door closes, it was for a reason. And trusting that one day, another door will open.
That doesn’t mean the closing of doors won’t be painful. It can be excruciating. But it does mean that in that moment, when we are filled with pain, we can turn to God and say – I don’t know why this is happening, but I trust in you. I am not happy, but I am hopeful for better days ahead. My heart is breaking, but I know that weeping endures for a time, but joy will come in the morning.