Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hope Out of the Abyss

“My spirit is broken, my days are extinct,
the grave is ready for me.
Surely there are mockers around me,
and my eye dwells on their provocation.”
~Job 17:1-2 (NRSV)
The sentiment in much of Job is chilling. Either Job is disconsolate or each of his three ‘friends’ is coarse and critical. But there is relevance in the circumstance of our inconsolable grief.
There are times in all our lives where we, for a moment or an entire season, slide over the cliff and into a cavernous abyss; a place where no consolation may be found. Here we are alone. Even with knowledge of God we feel alone. But then a great irony makes its way into our psyches.
To be found alone is to be found never more receptive to God.
To be lost to all hope avails us to the only hope: God.
When Death Becomes Life
These are difficult concepts for the person not in pain. Having endured a memorable grief we never quite forget that in death—the spiritual form—is the real basis for life.
It is almost as if we need to get to a point of being ready to give up, where our prayers have failed abysmally, and all light within us has been extinguished, to when God comes dramatically into the scene. Reaching down into our spirits and grabbing our hearts, the Lord rallies our hope. We may not know it in the instant, or in the hour. Usually it occurs, early in the morning, in the cool light of day, and a strange peace prevails which is completely inexplicable. By an unpretentious faith it arrived.
Out of the depths of death, where we finally had no conscious reason to live, out of it God unveils life. Yet nothing has changed. Nothing in our circumstance has altered.
But our outlook, which is now never more pliable to truth, can at last stand the raw truth.
Trusting in an Invisible Hope
When all we have is what we feel we need to learn to trust it.
When everything in life has turned to mud, yet we know God is with us by the serenity we feel, we trust it. It is hope we enjoy when nothing else can be enjoyed; it is an invisible gift. We don’t look that gift horse in the mouth. We try to be thankful. And thankfulness is easier than we think because this invisible hope is much more than we expected.
This invisible hope may seem like nothing much to an external observer; but it is life to us. It is the very thread our lives are hanging by. Without this invisible hope, really, we would be nothing.
And this invisible hope is enough for us. Somehow we believe we are on the right track, and somehow we believe everything will be okay. This hope is enough. It is sufficient.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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