“Have you ever been hopeless?”
The question spilled straight out of heart through mouth. And there the heart-words gushed, hung heavy, waiting—pleading.
How do you respond when the hope-starved beg for a crumb, eyes looking straight into yours, begging for just one little crumb of open-hearted self-disclosure?
In these moments of desperation, do we disclose or do we deflect? Do we offer spiritual truths through holy word to those too weak to hold, or do we offer ourselves, open and bare, giving evidence, testifying to the hope that is in us because of hope given in our own desperate moments?
Stranded in the sea of humanity, thinking none have gone before us through treacherous soul waters—through gut-wrenching, mind-crushing heart waters—to not be KNOWN in our depths—to be ALONE in our pain, THIS is what’s most unbearable. To be—alone.
God is so intensely personal. He’s so intensely relational. He’s so intensely in love with us. His heart bled for us from the beginning, putting His perfect plan into action right back then, in the beginning—in Genesis. He had to COME to us. He had to BE with us. He had to be FLESH like us. He had to go through every pain we’ve ever been through—and pain we’ll NEVER go through. Because He loves us so intensely.
Do we love others enough to be Christ-bearers to them—Jesus carriers to them—when they can’t see Christ? Do we love others enough to bare our own souls and show them the Christ who heals our deepest heart wounds? Will we live by example? Will we give them an example? Not someone else’s story—but OURS? Will we be that vulnerable for the sake of one torn up, hope-less soul so they might become hope-full? Isn’t this what it means to love one another—to lead the hope-less into the presence of the Hope-full? And how do we lead if we won’t be living, speaking, testifying examples of faith, hope and love?
And so, I have been warned against disclosing parts of my story—parts of heart exposing vulnerable. But how can I not when the hurting are begging—when the hope-less are starving? When I feel the familiar heart pulse of the Holy Spirit prompting to open and pour hope through past and present example—will I refuse?
I would rather die, quite frankly. For I KNOW that my hope is in the LORD, as He says all over His word. The LORD God IS our hope. And I would rather die than to not open my mouth and testify about how He has saved me—not just for heaven—but how He has saved me from desperation right here, in the muck of days when we rain on the inside and nobody sees—nobody hears—nobody knows . . . .
Unless I tell them parts of my story where I have trod through the Slough of Despond, feeling sucked down and drowning and scared sick.
It’s not just the physically sick who need a helping hand—an encouraging heart. It’s the SCARED sick. It’s the HOPE-less. It’s those in the heart trenches, bleeding wounded. Can I not give whatever I have to help? To comfort? Can I not share whatever I have—just a cool cup of hope to hold onto?
Maybe it’s a hand. Then again, maybe it’s a heart.
Will I give them my heart—open, beating, strong, warm, honest? Will I give them what others have given me when I’ve been in the trenches bleeding, wondering if I’ll see the light of just one more hour?
Yes, by God’s grace, yes.
And though I tremble because those around me might not open as I open—and though inner voices chastise and mock and threaten to undo me because I’ve shared a bit of my own inner rain days past—God help me open my mouth and speak truth—the truth of my life—the whole truth—the good and bad—the ugly and sad. And let me always show YOU to others. Let me always point people to YOU. Because, when all is said and done, Your word is true . . . .
YOU are our hope. You ARE hope.
And sometimes we just need HOPE with skin on.
Praise You forever and ever . . . because YOU KNOW THIS . . . and Jesus came to us—God with skin on. And He sends us to others.
Make me manna for the hurting only to bring them to YOU, our God and our Savior, our Hope and Redeemer. For there is none like YOU. You alone have the power to save completely—from sin—from brokenness—from hope-less-ness.
Give them hope . . .
a Heart Open Pouring Encouragement . . .
to keep on the pilgrimage, all the way to You who reigns over all inner rains.