I’m judging. Oh, how those words make my skin crawl, but still, I’m doing it. I’m judging a friend for her sin…testing her fruit and finding it hollowed by worms (and not necessarily facing my findings with kindness). You see, she is deeply involved in a sin that I find especially painful (though it is not personally affecting me). She is haphazardly and selfishly laying lives to ruin. And, though we’ve known each other for years, the very thought of her life today makes me angry. Or, it did, until I had a talk with my Father this week.
He said only three words, but the emotion they carried washed over me like an early morning deep dive into a cold pool. “She feels hopeless,” He said, and His words woke me.
As if my soul were lifted from my body and thrown down in another time, I saw myself, vividly, on the floor. I watched as I wept, bitterly, and crawled across the tear-stained carpet because I was too weak to walk or to stand.
The pain of infidelity is overwhelming, it is poured thickly over its victims, and it changes them as it dries. But watching myself writhe in pain, in memories as vivid as movies, I knew it wasn’t the pain of my husband’s betrayal that had pinned me to the floor. The ritualistic pain I felt in those moments was caused solely by hopelessness. Tomorrow would surely be worse than yesterday, and I could think of no good reason to hope.
As I sit here tonight, I can thinking of many, many triggers for hopelessness: the loss of a child or a spouse, debt or financial ruin, reputation destroying gossip, infertility…the list could go on and on. But tonight, if you feel hopeless, may I kindly remind you that there is hope?
Watching myself in memories, I felt very little pity (though I was reminded of and starkly humbled by the pain). What I was overwhelmed by was the desire to reach down and to slap myself, to rebuke my embarrassing lack of faith. The person that I am three years later knows that had my marriage crumbled, as it very nearly did, there would have been hope in tomorrow. And the person that I am three years later knows that forgiveness and redemption are real.
I read your stories and, quite frankly, I am often tempted to hopelessness on your behalf. This world is not our home; Heaven helps us. But then I watch in awe as you heal. The master painter dips His creative brush into cooled ashes, and using your heart as a canvas, He creates masterpieces so beautiful I could cry. I do cry, and I marvel as you piece together shattered pottery and tirelessly squeeze lemons for lemonade.
It is my hope (and it is my hope) that my redemption does the same for you. Because hopelessness leads to the unspeakable…
…May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.