When hope has sunk


Tender shoots of green are breaking through the beds surrounding my house. Lush green grass has replaced the brown patches shedding winter’s dreary cloak. Birds serenade me through my bedroom window. The cursed Bradford pear has exploded in cottony white. Daylight lingers.

Spring lifts us out of the mire of winter. Yes, Christmas pushes us through December, but January and February move painfully slow like rain boots wading through a muddy pit. Each year around this time, the hope of spring buoys us through these winter months. We know spring is coming so we cling to any semblance of color or light.

Just last week here in Tennessee we had one last gasp of winter—snow!—causing schools to delay their start times. This week tornadoes, hail, and severe thunderstorms threatened to dampen our spirits again.

Isn’t that how life works? We think we’ve just eked through then a winter storm stops us in our tracks. The messiness of parenting, marriage, families, jobs, ____ (you fill in the blank) perpetually chains us to this harsh season. And yet we hold out hope. Hope that things will change—that spring will come again. The promotion will come through. The teenager will grow up. Your adult child will return to faith. All the bills will get paid. The medical test will come back negative. Your business will pick up.

We cover this hopelessness with fake smiles, bulky sweaters, and social media posts of happy tales. On the outside we’ve put up a good front but inside a hopelessness roils about, and sooner or later we go down with it.

In the 1998 movie Hope Floats starring Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick, Jr., we see this played out. Through the carnage of a divorce and the death of her mother, Birdee (Bullock) struggles to find purpose in this new normal. At the end of the movie, she does find love again (what girl wouldn’t fall for Connick!). Her daughter’s hopes, however, are crushed when she finds out she is not to be part of her dad’s new life.

Later in the movie it’s revealed that the daughter’s hope was based on deception. It was actually Birdee (her mother) who wrote the letter saying her dad would come back for her.

This kind of wishful thinking is baseless–where the desire in all probability will not happen. You know, the kind of wishes that come true only in Disney movies–not real life.

We cross our fingers wishing the promotion will come through. We “wish upon a shooting star” that our government will turn civil. Or our issues will magically go away. Or life will some how get better. We go along never thinking these wishes are based on faulty information or worse yet, nothing at all.

But what if we turned our hope was attached to something concrete, firm and secure rather than unclear, weak and shaky?

This kind of hope is only find in the scriptures, and is anchored in a Person. Not an employer, not another individual, and certainly not in our own efforts but in Jesus—our Living Hope. This kind of hope will not let us drift into our sea of emotions. It will not let us sink into the depth of despair. It will not let us drift away from our relationship with Him. Rather, this Living Hope tethers us to Him and His promises.

No matter what hope has been dashed or what “winter” storm has battered your life, if we are tethered to the promises in the Bible, to the truth that Jesus is our Living Hope, then nothing can separate us from the Him.

I’m absolutely convinced that nothing–nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable–absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us (Romans 8:38-39 The Message).

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