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Hope in the Midst of Hurt

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness” (Lam. 3;22-23). These two well-known verses capture our gratitude for the Lord’s consistent kindness, even when we don’t deserve it! How often their truth is the response of our hearts as we experience God’s continual provision. Even when things are not going well, afterward we are able to say, “great is Your faithfulness.” When we are able to look back and catch a glimpse of how God worked all things together for good (Rom. 8:28), including our disappointments, we are able to praise Him for His faithfulness. But what about when we are in the midst of sorrow, when we are actually feeling the hurt and can’t see how everything is working together for good? What is the response of our souls then? Can we still say that the Lord’s great love and compassions never fail? Can we still rejoice in the great faithfulness of the Lord every morning? Yes, we can hope in the midst of hurt! Amen.

What Does Hope Require?

Sometimes, all we have left is hope. Maybe that's why God allows us to walk the valleys of shadows on the road of life- that we may learn what hope is and what it is like to hope. There will be seasons of life where we are pressed to hope- hope for deliverance, hope for healing, hope for reconciliation, hope for a brighter future and a better time. Yet hope is only possible if we hope in God, not merely hoping for the best, whatever that is. The refrain of the Psalmist in Psalm 42:5& 11 is "Why are you downcast, 0 my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God."

Hope requires at least two things. First, we must believe that God is active in the world and, more specifically in our lives. In the midst of his depression, the Psalmist is still able to affirm this reality in Psalm 42:8: "By day the Lord directs His love, at night His song is with me- a prayer to the God of my life." God embraces every part of a person's being, even the depressing part. He is a God big enough for anything that life throws our way.

Second, we must believe that everything has a purpose. All the masterpieces of art contain both light and shadow. A happy life is not one filled with sunshine, but one where both light and shadow combine to produce beauty. As Thomas Merton wrote, "We must learn to realize that the love of God seeks us in every situation, and seeks our good." Hence, the Psalmist declares, "Put your hope in God...my Saviour and my God."

The worst thing is never the lastthing. God is already picking up the broken pieces to produce another masterpiece of hope.

Be encouraged.

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Eph. 2:10.

<< Letter 34 (7.12.2003)

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