This Advent season has been hard.
Really, if I am honest, this fall has wrecked me. Between constant reminders of violence, injustice, inequality and my own personal heartbreak, there have been days during the past few months have sometimes seemed unbearable.
While I believe I know at the core of my being the loving Father-heart of God, in the midst of the pain, I have found it hard to hope. Daring to hope means opening yourself up to disappointment and heartbreak. It feels risky and foolish, and sometimes false, like it is often shrinking instead of growing.
I was talking about this with a dear friend this weekend, and she said:
“Yes, but choosing not to hope is choosing your own personal hell.”
There is already so much hell wreaking havoc in the world right now. I don’t want to add to it. I have to stand on the side of hope and faith, even when it doesn’t make sense.
A couple of months ago, Sarah Bessey wrote a post about faith and the uncertainty of her fourth pregnancy, and these words are still echoing through my heart:
“I think faith is figuring out what I hope for – redemption, wholeness, shalom, justice, love, life, one small baby to live and not die, all of it – and then fearlessly living under that roof.”
I couldn’t be more thankful that she has staked her claim, for firmly planting herself under that roof. I need to know others are camping out there too. And the fact that even she can settle there, after multiple miscarriages on her journey to motherhood, gives me hope.
So, I do hope – that one day, one way or another, for myself and others who pray to know the joy of being a parent. In the meantime, I will fight to believe what I know to be true and be encouraged by those under that roof along with me – those that have bold faith for what they cannot yet see.
I have made it a point to get up as many days as possible recently to sit in silence, to pray, to reflect and practice gratitude. With so much around us that is broken, I am begging God to make things right.
I don’t hold onto hope lightly, as a nice sentiment. I hold onto it for survival, like gasping for breath.
I have to choose hope and joy daily, because my only other options are apathy or despair. I do this even though common sense says it is not worth it, even though my tender heart will likely be broken again and again in the process.
I need Advent this year perhaps now more than ever. I need to plea before a God who knows and loves humanity, who knows and loves me, and gets it to the core because He was once human Himself. I am clinging to a God who saw the darkness and shined a light into it through sending his Son to experience and then overcome it. Jesus modeled love, fought injustice, and still binds up the brokenhearted. He invites us to participate in the reconciliation of all things. Our Savior has come, and will come again.
A thrill of hope.