Hope is a hard thing for me. I’ve struggled with anxiety my whole life, and since I graduated high school depression has with some frequency come to wrap its dark fingers around my whole life.
I married my best friend last July, and the first year of marriage has been an adventure, for lack of a better term. Loss and change and struggle and discord have found their way into our home more times than I would like to admit, and who knows how many times I’ve shouted at Caleb that I’m tired of churchy answers about hope and holding on and trusting that God would provide he didn’t have a job, or when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, or when we didn’t know where our rent money would come from.
When my temper subsided, I was always sheepishly apologizing for losing my cool and lashing out at him, and he was always forgiving me without a second thought, but it’s been difficult for him to understand my rage against his optimism.
I see myself as a realist, looking at things as objectively and honestly as I can, and sometimes that isn’t beneficial. It’s not that I myself don’t know all the answers they taught in Sunday school; it’s just that those answers rarely soothe the aches of a heart lost in the turbulence of the everyday. I see more and more why non-Christians struggle with the cliché statements that seem to come straight from some non-existent book titled How to Impress People with Your Christianese.
There are well-intentioned people who love me, telling me that God has a plan, that it will be made clear to me sooner or later. And I smile and nod and truly try to believe those words. I myself say these same things to those around me with complete conviction, knowing fully that God will see to it!
But I can’t believe them for myself, can’t see how God will attend to the problems in my life. Perspective can make or break a person, and I view the world through the eyes of a woman raised to be independent, to blaze a trail and go after what I want and make things happen.
But what happens when I don’t know what I want, when I feel paralyzed by options? What about when my prayers seem to be left unanswered? This is where God is so often setting me straight, turning my stubborn face and self-sufficient heart to Him and reminding me that He is aware of my struggles and worries because they are a part of Him working in my life, shaping me into the person He has always wanted me to be.
With this in mind, sometimes the answers to the questions posed by my hurting heart aren’t easy or pretty; sometimes they are messy and sometimes they aren’t really answers at all, but instead just enough hope to make it through a situation, to hold on and trust in the face of a chance to do just the opposite.
A few Sundays ago my pastor was giving a sermon about how the resurrection of Jesus changes everything for those who follow Christ, should we choose to really believe it. Even in the midst of my frustrations and hopelessness, God laid something huge on my heart, and I couldn’t get the words down quickly enough:
He will be who He says He is.
He will finish what He started.
He will bind up my brokenness.
He will bring unity to fractured community.
He will bring hope where there has only been despair.
These are the promises He has given us, friend. These are the words we can hold onto, words that neither deny our human condition nor pretend we have it all together, but words that instead assure us that we are all hurting, and that our God is who He says He is.
And He is all the hope we need.
Laura Hyers is a Tampa native, writer, and the newly wed wife of musician Caleb. She recently graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration in literature and is currently teaching preschool. When not chasing a class of two-year-olds, Laura is writing and fighting fierce bouts of wanderlust. She loves music, reading, being near the ocean, and dreaming big over huge cups of coffee with her best friend Lakin. Laura blogs at http://littlebirdmarie.blogspot.com.
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