HOW IRONIC it is that I can look back now in the moments of my worst grief, where life made no sense at all (apart from what the Bible said, which I clung to), and see those times, now, with pleasantness of heart. These were the times that I now recognise I was closest to God. And though it seemed I was helpless in that condition, now I see how much hope God infused through my spirit at such a time. He grew me.
There always comes a time when we look back at our brokenness, cherishing those memories. We were close to ourselves and ever close to God. There was no room for fabrication, no time to be inauthentic, and no energy for lies or half-truths.
We were solidified in our spiritual integrity, because it was all we had; and all we were.
When our anguish has swamped us, and the tears do run, in the mixture of emotions comes God. But so often God comes in the shape of another human being; someone to just be there, not to offer answers or plastic platitudes or things that sound good.
Hope in the dungeon of despair that the soul treads—the coldness of the stone floor—is the only thing that matters. Hope is all that matters.
Preaching Ourselves a Good Message of Hope
What more do we have to remind ourselves, from God’s Good Word, of hope than Hope itself?
In low places we need to be preaching to ourselves simple, yet encouraging Words of the Lord. We must hope in God. This is a very practical exercise.
When we have energy we search and search and search—for sources of spiritual encouragement. When we lack energy, we are gentle with ourselves, allowing ourselves the rest we need, and we don’t judge ourselves for taking time out. But we can still remind ourselves that we are good people going through a hard time. We need to remind ourselves.
Almost as if we were encouraging another person, we encourage ourselves.
We reach out to others who can help, and we don’t feel guilty for doing that. Others are blessed to be in a position to help, and just to be asked to help, because it involves trust, and everyone loves to be trusted. To be trusted is reward enough for anyone to help.
When we preach ourselves a message of hope we stand to be surprised by how God can turn things around. We never expect it, but deliverance may be surprisingly close.
Faith in God When We Have No Energy and No Joy
Very truly the greatest faith comes to bear when we are at our lowest ebb. When hopelessness abounds, and the disappointments swarm, when hope is truly invisible, then is our greatest challenge of faith.
This is cold comfort right now. We can be told that such tests are growing our faith and growing us toward maturity, but we just want things back the way they were, or at least just to have a peaceable life.
We must hold onto this thought. There is coming a time when we will reflect over the present hardship and look back over it with fondness; pleased with ourselves that we trusted God when we could have wandered off the track into some horrendous spiritual abyss we may never have come out of.
It’s excruciatingly hard to see hope in hopelessness, but God shows us such times so we can understand the true strength of his Presence. Times will not always be like this. And a time will come when we will look back on such a dungeon of despair experience with fondness. It was there and then that we fully relied on God and pleased God by our obedience.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.