Hope. March is the perfect time to reflect on hope. Soon we’ll see visual signs of new life in the spring flowers and new tendrils of grass peeking up out of the brown frozen ground. We hear of God’s promise of eternal life through the sacrifice and death of His only son, Jesus Christ. Without hope for this eternal life, which is perfectly symbolized by the new life which surrounds us in spring, our lives would have no meaning.
As Basil C. Hume spoke of Christian hope when he said that it, “makes us have that confidence in God, in His ultimate triumph, and in His goodness and love, which nothing can shake.”
There may be times in our lives when we are filled with loss, despair, anger, depression, or suffering. This past year has been, by far, the most difficult year of my life. The loss of my daughter – not through her physical death but through her physical and emotional distance from me – has caused much anguish. There were times when I wondered why I had to suffer so much, but I was always gently reminded of Jesus’ suffering for me and for my sins, so I offered up my suffering to blend in with His. There were times when my despair turned into a deep and wrenching anguish, and somehow, God reached out to me to comfort me in the form of a phone call or email from a friend, or a gentle hug from my husband, or an “I love you” from my youngest daughter. At times, I blamed myself for the situation; and at other times, I was so scared about what the future might hold for my daughter’s life and for our relationship. Will she ever come back to us and to her faith? Will she get sick again? Will she be safe? Will her rebellion and anger melt and change into gratitude and respect? The effect of this guilt and anxiety on my soul diminished my ability to cling on to that hope, that trust, in God.
Then, I stumbled upon a quote by Warren W. Wiersbe, “Most Christians are being crucified on a cross between two thieves: Yesterday’s regret and tomorrow’s worries.” I decided that I needed to let go of the burden of regret and worry, and place it all in God’s capable hands. I almost allowed my anguish to crush my hope that things were truly in God’s control, and that He is working His “magic” on my oldest without me knowing what His plans are for her. All that I have to do is trust in His wisdom and His love. My cross is lighter now, knowing that God is helping me to carry it.
I remind myself of how many times I have stumbled and fallen. How many times I have had to ask God (and others) for forgiveness. Jesus died to give me everlasting life. “The resurrection gives my life meaning and direction and the opportunity to start over no matter what my circumstances,” said Robert Flatt.
I remind myself how many times I have had to start over. And I need to remind myself that my daughter, too, will stumble and fall and start all over again–just like me. She will seek God’s forgiveness (and others)–just like me. And she, too, will be reminded that Jesus died to give her everlasting life. That is my hope. That is my belief.
“FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD, THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH, BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE.” —JOHN 3:16
©2009, Valerie Wolff