An invitation to Hope

{… even when hoping can feel kind of hard}

My heart began to skip a wild beat in my chest and these gleaming eyes of mine almost bulged out my head. A smile had made its way incognito to my lips just before near incomprehensible words fumbled out my mouth and were quickly caught up in giddy laughter.

Adam couldn’t help but look at me a bit sideways.

When Hope wells up and over inside of you there isn’t always time to calculate your next move or how it is going to come out. And sometimes the ear to ear grin that has decided it’s making its home on your face for a good long while is enough to provoke bewilderment for all involved.

Just like waves of grief can hit like a freak storm and you can feel like you are suddenly drowning in sorrow, hope too, can catch us off guard in the same sudden way. It wells up within us from a deep cistern of emotion that we didn’t even know was there.

The spiral of sorrow, choking on tears type of caught off guard?
I have known it well.
The quick dash out of a group of people.
A raw inner lip from biting down hard enough as a plea to keep the tears at bay.

But the laughter of hope that catches in your throat kind of caught off guard?
It feels like unexplored terrain; wild with beauty and beckoning with fresh invitation.
Both exhilarating, and terrifying.

The moment I received two lines on a pregnancy test for the first time in 6 years?
I had all the intentions to tell Adam about it in some grandiose gesture.
But one look at this face of mine all flushed with joy? Oh, he knew.

Have you felt it? The caught off guard of a hope that wells up and flows over?

When an opportunity comes that resurrects a dream you thought had died long ago?
When your hand finds his and all feels right again and you wonder if maybe everything could be okay?
When the doctor comes in with hushed tones and a soft smile and assures you that you have caught it in time?
…..The welling up of hope.

Though vulnerable, I have often sat with friends and offered my heartache.
I have asked for prayer in my sorrow and I have stood in front of hundreds of people and shared the depth of ache that I have felt so far in my journey this side of heaven.

While sorrow is uncomfortable, it has been familiar.

I recently sat across from two women who are fellow sojourners of mine.
We meet weekly to study the Word and to pray.
I know they have prayed prayers unto heaven for me in these past months.
Prayers for our family as we waited for updates from the ICU.
Prayers as my husband traveled across borders to be with family and to say goodbyes too soon.
Prayers for our littlest in a flurry of fevers and emergency room trips.
Prayers for our sweet niece who was born too soon; the one who can fit in the palm of her daddy’s hand.

And yet when I went to ask for prayer for the reason I couldn’t stop smiling?
Laughter turned to a lump in my throat.
And I couldn’t utter the words…as if voicing deepest longings could somehow make them void.

Because the Hope welling up and out of us?
What if no sooner than it overflows that it runs dry?

Remember that pregnancy test with the two lines?
…I had to go back and re-read the instructions to make sure I was interpreting the results correctly.
And even then, I quickly reminded myself that I knew from experience that two lines didn’t mean a babe in arms.
So, that hope overflowing?
Fear started damming it up and building a protective wall around this heart mine.

You too?
Fear whispers and we wonder if that dream resurrected was better off under the ground.
If that person we love most will fail us again.
If the treatment we are given will actually take.

And in the waiting and the uncertainty, with walls built up and positioned for disappointment?
Our hearts become sick.
The weight of our hope and longing is put upon the babe in the womb, the dream in our hearts, the hand that we hold, and the very flesh that holds us through this life.

But all of those things Beloved?
They can’t bear the weight of the Hope of glory that has been etched upon the human heart.
Because even good things, when our hope is placed full upon them, will come crashing down.

I can remember holding tight to that pregnancy test. Fear of disappointment threatened to rob every ounce of joy, even as I fixed my eyes upon the two blue lines that invited laughter unbidden and boldly declared life.
Two blue lines in the shape of a cross.

Beloved, might the invitation to an overflowing, never drying up kind of Hope be found in two wooden beams that are in the shape of a cross too?
The cross that bore the weight of our Saviour. (Or rather our Saviour that bore the weight of the cross)
The cross that fulfilled the promise to Abraham, that brought unbidden laughter from Sarah.
The cross upon which our Lord gave up His life, that He might boldly declare life for all who choose to trust in Him.

Though Hope might be deferred for a little while, I promise that it will never disappoint.
Because the God Man who hung on that cross carried all of our disappointments.
He bore the weight of all our sorrow.
He took upon Himself all of our pain.

And Beloved One?
….He Alone can carry the weight of our Hope.
Because He alone was meant to fulfill it.
We cannot void our hope by uttering words, for His Word loudly declares that He has and will fulfill all Hope.

So, let the unbidden laughter ring loud. Let the person next to you glance at you sideways when your eyes bulge out of your head and you can’t stop grinning ear to ear.
And when the fear of disappointment begins to whisper?
Don’t wall up your heart. Don’t choke down the laughter.
Invite the One who meets You in the waiting and offers Himself as the fulfillment to the very deepest Hopes of your heart.
And no matter what we encounter this side of heaven?
This kind of hope will never run dry.

Walking with You,

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