Pit (n): the name given to an unseen place of woe (Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary)
Today is a day of hope. I declare it.
The thing about being in a pit, though, is that you can’t see outside of it. If you’re anything like me, you rebel against hope and you run as far away from anyone or anything that wants to tell you that this pit is bearable. Because it feels completely, absolutely, and 100% unbearable. You expected hard. You expected to struggle but not like this. This isn’t what ‘struggling’ is supposed to feel like.
I came into a year in Montenegro thinking that struggling would mean that I was busy, tired, worn, but fulfilled and deeply satisfied. I expected to feel the Lord walking alongside of me in the intermittent rough patches, letting me learn how to lean on him while I struggled through some pretty tolerable and pretty clean messes.
What a sad, shallow picture of suffering.
The reality of suffering for me has felt dark. dramatic. hopeless. crushing, draining, energy and life sucking. I’ve felt abandoned, lonely, angry, sad, and a slew of other ugly emotions that are equally consuming and equally teenage-angsty.
In the midst of this, my soul cries for hope. It desperately runs to the quickest, easiest, and nearest source of it. For me, if I’m being honest, that nearest hope was found in The Summer. The Summer is a bright and golden time when I get to be reunited with [more] people I love and return to a country that I know and where I am known. It feels really good to put my hope in The Summer because it’s attainable; it is reachable and it’s familiar.
Enter: boyfriend, Vilppu, who points out, “Hannah, your hope is not in the summer. You get to have hope today.” True, but ouch. I would much rather live in my Summer-Hope bubble where I ignore what Jesus has to say about where I put my hope.
Enter: the hope that I actually have, even if it takes more energy and more discipline to believe. But how beautiful. I get to see God’s beauty. Every day. I get to see his nature and his character in people and the actual imprint of himself through his word and through his son. I get to partake in this eternal glory and eternal joy, starting now. I get an eternity spent with the Father that has already started and will never end. That hope is sturdy; that hope is joyful. And that hope is found in a Creator who is faithful. How simple. But how it resounds with my soul.
Today, tomorrow, the day I fly to the US, the day I leave this earth, and every day in between – my hope is the exact same. My hope never changes.
To myself: Compared to that hope, Hannah, your hopes of The Summer or Attainable Thing A are wisps of smoke. How fleeting, how thin, how empty and how falsely satisfying they are, like the frail smoke of a blown out candle compared to the sturdy, anchoring power of a mountain.
A prayer: Jesus, I can put all of my hope in you today. My hope is not in the attainables. Those things are good and I will rejoice in them and praise you when you give them to me. But my hope is the same today as it will be every day of my life. It’s the same because it’s you, Jesus. My hope is that I get to see your beauty, your glory, your face, your perfection, and your imprint here.
here and now.
Praise you. I love you, seek you, and hope in you forever.
Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
– Hebrews 10:23 –