“How can you sit and listen to people in pain all day long?” People often asked me this question when I worked as a therapist. Truth is, I viewed my job as a privilege to sit face-to-face with people in great inner pain, holding hope for them when they could not hold hope for themselves. Because HOPE is what we all need, isn’t it? Hope for today? Hope for the future?
Hope is the fuel that keeps our souls burning and moving forward.
But when we are beaten down by life, when hope’s flame starts to flicker and the dark pit’s mire begins to rise, we can lose our solid grip on hope. We can even become HOPE-less, even as we wish to remain hope-FULL. Our spirit leaks empty and flails fearful. By all that’s not fair. By our own sins. By the sins of others. By the whole broken mess of this world that wreaks havoc on our hearts, our souls, our bodies.
And we sometimes find ourselves with gaping wounds that won’t close on their own, no matter what we do. That’s when we need others. We need others to hold our broken and torn, to apply a balm, to hold hope for us when we’re in our most vulnerable, painful places. We need people to be Jesus with skin-on for us—to lift us, hold us, show us His hope. Because without hope we have nothing, we are nothing, our lives amount to nothing.
I know about feeling hope-less. I’ve been one walking in darkness a few times, overwhelmed by circumstance beyond my ability to cope at the time. And yet, I knew there was a HOPE beyond all hopes. Even in the midst of my deepest despair—even when I’d lost hope that earthly circumstances would change for the better—I knew the Wonderful Counselor. And that Wonderful Counselor has never failed to meet me in His Word and provide people to help me hold hope until I could hold hope again for myself.
All it takes is a humbling—a desperate longing—an admittance of our need. All we need is an honest opening to God and others. If we’re willing, we can become hope-FULL again. Jesus never leaves us alone! He longs to love us lavishly! He came so we might have life abundantly. THIS is what we anticipate and celebrate this Advent season. Is there any greater HOPE?
Where do you find yourself this Advent season?
Do you need someone to hold hope for you in your season of hope-less? Will you reach out? Will you risk with one you sense worthy of trust? One able to hold your broken gently?
Are you one who is hope-FULL this season? Will you open your eyes and search for the hope-less, simply offering your presence. Because presence is the best present you can offer another.
Whether your feeling more or less hopeful this season, know that we’re all equal before God. Some are called to hold; some are called to be held. There’s a healing and a humbling that goes with both calls. And both places are grace-places, where we grow closer to God.
So seek hope. Hold hope. And always remember where True Hope is always found.
Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him. Job 13:15
No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame. Psalm 25:1-2
No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you. Psalm 33:16-22