Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Why Hope Hurts

Around, around, and around again. 

Hope: To cherish a desire with anticipation. 

We have each felt it. All of humanity since the creation of dreams. Hope. It elevates and stabs simultaneously. The desire for something to come. The expectation of an unfulfilled promise or destiny. Or perhaps simply a wish. Despite the size or seeming significance, our lives somehow hang in the balance of this anticipation of a hope. Mothers in Somalia right now are hoping for food. Friends of mine are hoping for spouses. Parents are hoping that their children will be okay despite the diagnosis of autism. Slaves are hoping for freedom in India. America is hoping for economic stability...  I am hoping to finish our adoption of two little Ugandan kids. Ford & Etta. I tear up just writing their names. Today was another day gone by that it didn't happen. We each hope for something. We are each waiting for something. 

I wish I could put on my 'godly' hat and say that it is another opportunity to practice patience. But it doesn't feel like a sermon illustration. Some heart wrenching story of the faithfulness of God. It's my life. It just feels like waiting. Again. The days turn into months... turn into years. It hurts to hope. 

We fight off doubt. "Did God forget his promise?" , "I must have done something wrong." , "If it hasn't happened by now, it probably won't". At what point do we throw in the towel? Hope hurts because we have to believe.

We begin to wonder if we sound ridiculous. "I know that we have prayed for 5 years, but I believe my sister is going to get healed." , "God promised a wife for me. I know that there is someone coming." , "He said that he would transform this city/nation/people. I know God is going to come through." Hope hurts because we have to risk.

We have to revisit disappointment over and over. Fight off discouragement and bitterness at unfulfilled desires. Our best efforts start to fall short. Rallying enough inner fight we face another day. Praying that this is the year of breakthrough. Hope hurts because it is exhausting.

Usually when hope reaches the point of pain, we have been in the fray for years. Our resources and lives have been spent. Placing everything we are on the promise that God will be faithful. We make decisions on the premise that our hope will be fulfilled & our hearts will not be left wanting. Hope is all we have left, because we let go of everything else.  Hope hurts because it is all on the line.

Our ability to control outcomes is removed. Circumstances and environments are not interpreted with worldly wisdom. Often we don't know what else to do but stand where we are. Praying that God moves something somewhere. Facing a mountain range with a cardigan and sandals. Unprepared in the natural to tackle the spiritual. Abilities and carnal strength are no match for the promise. Our fleshly nature dies. Hope hurts because it kills us. 

So, why hope? Why endure? I will tell you why I hope:

I hope because despite the immediate situation, I know something more of Jesus. I understand the comfort of a generous Savior. I hope because when there is nothing left in me there is always more of God. I hope because I have to. I was made to carry dreams of God. We all were. I hope because I want to ascend into the heights with Christ that the earth may be oppressed no more. One promise at a time. We cry in the process, but ALWAYS are victorious. In my need He is glorified and I am satisfied. I hope because the One who makes the promise, is the One who keeps the promise.

"...No one whose hope is in You will ever be put to shame..."
         Psalm 25:3


  1. Amen and amen. This is beautiful, Liz.

  2. HI Elizabeth - Amen! We too are in a waiting cycle, but God is faithful. We will continue to believe on Him because we choose to believe His word. Excellent post
    God bless

  3. yep...yep. incredible!!! Gives me hope.

  4. Just had a seven year relationship/ engagement lost. Hope that there is someone out there for me has been crushed. Sometimes it is too painful to hope, or re-hope. Beautifully written.

  5. I aspire to write like you, but here I am thus far...my response to your well-put entry: http://going-against-the-grain-angilee.blogspot.com/2011/08/hopes-portion-response.html

  6. Believing and having hope and trusting all seem to wrap around each other and yet at times I look at each one and wonder if I have the guts to really believe Hab 3:17
    Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
    though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
    though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
    18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

  7. Nice post.. Will never loose hope...