Life seems full of despair, especially over the past couple of years, doesn’t it? All I need to do is read the news for 5 minutes before that depressed feeling creeps into my heart. The world is changing, and all I can do is utter “Come quickly, Lord Jesus” in our prayers because otherwise I’d feel helpless. If I focused on all the negative things going on in the world, it would take its toll on my mental health.
Leon and I have seen our fill of joy and disappointment in our 11 years of marriage. A lot of joy comes from those eleven years and our five children. The losses we’ve suffered through miscarriages and losing our son Titus brought disappointment. Over time, I’ve learned to look at our disappointment in view of eternity.
That gives me hope. My mantra ever since Titus’s death is hope. It’s a journey because we walked through a lot of traumas in his brief life. It’s as though I’m constantly learning the meaning of “hope” for the first time.
There are a few things hope continues to teach me.
Find hope in worshiping God, even when you don’t feel like it.
Laura Story sings the beautiful song, “Perfect Peace.” In the song, she reminds us that God promises perfect peace when we seek Him. He may not calm the storms, but He gives us a place to hide in Him. When we worship, we turn our focus from ourselves and what we’re going through to focusing on who God is. Worship reminds us of God’s faithfulness.
After we received Titus’s terminal prognosis, he also battled bronchiolitis. For a sick baby like Titus, bronchiolitis could be deadly. We began grieving as we anticipated death, and we felt numb. Yet we listened to worship music. Slowly, our hearts felt again because we focused on God, not the prognosis.
When the UK government first put the country into lockdown two years ago because of the pandemic, it was easy to let fear take over. I grieved the world we lost as I watched it change overnight. As I changed my focus to worship, my outlook on life changed for the better.
Hope comes from friends who speak into your life.
If you are transparent about your pain, God can use others to encourage you. They can walk your journey with you.
Our journey through suffering has deepened our relationships with those around us. I think that being in a vulnerable place helps people better understand how God is working in your life. It then leaves the invitation open for others to be vulnerable with us. We bear each other’s burdens, as it says in Galatians.
The pandemic taught us we need each other. The isolation of lockdown amplified the feelings of loneliness we all feel in our lives. As lockdown progressed, I found community in the blessing of technology. Attending a conference online led to a wonderful group of godly women forming a Bible study. We are still friends who talk and pray for each other, even though we’re back to a mostly normal life.
Hope brings healing.
Not long after Titus died, a friend shared with me Steven Curtis Chapman’s song, “With Hope.” In the song, there’s a line that is the balm to my aching soul: “We have this hope as an anchor ‘cause we believe that everything God promised us is true.” And it is true. God’s promises in His word become tangible when we walk through a difficult time. Knowing that God’s Word is the never-changing anchor for our souls heals our hearts.
Dear friend, I pray you will find hope in this season as you place your focus on Him. May the Lord be an anchor to your weary soul as you place your burdens at the foot of the cross with the hope of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday.