Advent Week 1 : Hope

Hope.

It’s something I thought I held within my own grasp. Something I had to cling to, to muster up, to produce even. Hope is something you have, isn’t it?

When imagine hope, I imagine the scene from Lord of the  when they’re in the battle of Helms Deep. Every year, around Thanksgiving we watch the whole trilogy of Lord of the Rings.

In this scene, from The Two Towers, a group of Nordic like people, the people of Rohan; men, women, and children, are holed up taking refuge in this rock called Helms Deep. They’re surrounded by the dark forces of Sauron. Orcs, trebuchets, trolls; thousands are descending upon them. And as they were told to look to the east at the break of dawn, there shining over the hilltop came a furious riding thunder of men and horses lead by Gandalf the white. They came as defenders. And there is was: hope.

Yes we are LOTR fans, and Star Wars too. We’re fun like that. But when I watch that scene, I cry, not just because it’s a moving scene, but because I know that feeling of relief and God providing another way…

Hope saves, comes to the rescue, conquers, carries, and provides a way out. Doesn’t it?

I had felt hopeless and I didn’t know the way out, I didn’t know the way through. I had all but stopped walking and was almost choosing to despair. I was saved, meaning I was secure in my salvation, but then why did I still feel helpless and hopeless?

The struggles we have as a family are not ones that have an end in sight, or a season to endure. They are ever present and will be part of our lives because they’re the way our brains work. I hadn’t accepted or fully understood that concept yet. The disabilities our daughter faced seemed like a thousand trolls and orcs chasing us with arrows and clubs. It was scary. And this was no movie, this was life. My life.

I was surrounded by darkness and because it had been so dark for so long, I stopped seeking the Light…

I’ve written this and shared this story before. The story of how Hope found me…

As I sat in my car yelling at God for not being there, not showing up, not making a way OUT that’s when the light broke through, and it grabbed me. It was a palpable experience, not a weird out of body or ‘I heard God’s voice’ or anything physical. This was heartwork happening.

I did feel my heart quicken, beating faster as the scripture of Romans 5:3-5 came to mind.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

The Lord was showing me a way THROUGH…He was showing me that HE was my Hope, that I was weary and tired and it wasn’t up to MY strength, it was dependent on HIS strength and ability, one I could fall back on and rest upon. He would do the heavy lifting as I lay there and simply LET HIM.

Hope, had me. Hope HAS me…

What?!? This was like a rush of new information and good news! It wasn’t up to me!? I didn’t have to keep being strong? Good, because I didn’t have anymore strength to pretend or to fight.

I surrendered that night. And Hope scooped me up and carried me through.

Enough strength for one day at a time. New mercies every morning, which sounds cliche, but finding my keys, a hot cup of coffee left by my husband for me to start my day, a particular song that came on the radio, these small mercies made it bearable as we continued that season to drive 2 hours one way to therapy Monday-Saturday to try and help my daughter. I needed those small mercies, and I wanted to recognize them. My endurance slowly began to increase. The stronger I became the more I was able to grab back on to Hope, to cling with whatever strength I had. Today, I cling to Him with all my might. Hope. His name is Jesus, and as we enter this first week of advent, He can be your Hope too.

Long ago, in the darkness a baby came into the world. In a barn. So simple. No warm palace, no regal entrance. Lowly shepherds were the witnesses to this seemingly unremarkable event. And yet, the match was lit, and the darkness didn’t seem so dark anymore. His presence, Emmanuel, God with Us, means we don’t have to rely on ourselves. We shouldn’t rely on ourselves. We are weak, weary, unfit, and unable.

He is strong, mighty, perfect and able.

This first week’s reflection on Hope, He does make a way through, He carries us, and rescues us from ourselves. Right now. Today. This season of Hope can be new, it can break through.

Let Hope have you.

Read Romans 5 the whole chapter

Lord let those that are hopeless let you have them, let us reflect on your goodness and how strong and able you are as our only Hope. Amen.

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