Waiting is not on my list of favorite things to do, especially when suffering is involved ! I’m much more the — “let’s fix it now” kind of person! Suffering shows up and I want to run to the closest “Mc-Fix-it” drive through and grab the “happy meal – solution”. The problem with the drive through fix-it approach is that invariably, there is a line of cars waiting …reaching all the way around the building and down the road … exhaust is choking the life out of every breath …and when you finally arrive at the drive-through window — they’re OUT of happy meals !!!!! This is often my version of waiting for hope and wondering why someone got my order all wrong.
Life-menu items such as suffering, pain, and anguish of soul are all too familiar but we struggle to see the purpose …or why God has allowed such awful tragedy to enter our lives …or why it seems to take so long for healing to take place.
In a recently published book, Desperate for Hope : Hanging on and Finding God During Life’s Hardest Times , Bruce Martin — a good friend, who also happens to be my brother-in-law — shares his own personal journey through some of the most gut-wrenching , painful times and how God walked with him through the storms. As only a true friend can do, he also shares another friend’s story of walking with their son who was diagnosed with brain cancer and how Jesus held them in His arms.
I share this with you today because these stories are about dear friends of mine as well. I wept as I remembered the pain … now thanking God that He never abandoned us!
You’ll feel like Bruce is sitting in your living room sharing his honest, vulnerable moments as he tells his story of waiting desperately for hope to arrive. If you’ve heard the pat Sunday School answers and you know it’s just not adding up, please read this book …and while you’re at it — buy another one to share with someone else ! 🙂
I could go on and on but I’m excited for you to hear from Bruce personally in this guest post today…
I’ve been reflecting on this Scripture a lot recently:
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. (Romans 8:22-25, NIV)
Hoping is all about waiting. Here’s what I’ve come to realize in my own experience: despair and hope feel about the same, but there is a significant difference between them. Both despair and hope feel the darkness surrounding, feel the sense of pain and suffering, feel the emptiness of loss. But there is a significant difference between the two, even though the emotional feeling is similar.
Despair looks backward. Hope looks forward.
Hope is defined by Webster as, “to desire with expectation of fulfillment.” Hope looks forward with an expectation of fulfillment. Despair looks backward with a longing that can never be fulfilled. Job engaged this reality in the midst of his unspeakable suffering. In Job 19:25-27, he says, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes — I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (NIV)
In the end, Job looked forward to seeing His Redeemer in person, standing with Him in victory. No matter how bad things go for me here on Earth, I will one day, in eternity, see Jesus face to face, “and the things of this earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”
I’m with Job.
We’ve all experienced it. The excruciating pain of loss, the sting of betrayal, the bitterness of failure, the hurt of deep disappointment and the seeming randomness of suffering, We’ve silently wondered (or maybe even screamed) “Where is God in all of this? Why is this happening to me?”
The answer may surprise you.
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