“Though he slay me, I will hope in him…” Job 13:15
“But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.” Psalm 71:14
I had hope before Kim’s death. I know about hope. In the context of loss and lament, however, your hope is tested. There is an element of trust and hope inherent in the very fact that you turn to God.
A recurring theme in loss and lament is the realization that you have no one else worthy to whom you can turn. You need unhindered hope. Continuous. More and more. We are challenged to “…show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end…” in Hebrews 6:11. Unhindered. Until the end. Similarly, in Hebrews 10:23, we are instructed, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” Unwavering.
“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” Psalm 42:11
I love the psalms of lament. So helpful. It’s good to cry out from a cast down place of turmoil but not without hope. In 1 Thessalonians 4:13 we read that we don’t have to “…grieve as others do who have no hope.” We have hope. This in no way diminishes the overwhelming nature of grief and loss. But we have a place to hide out in hope.
“You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.” Psalm 119:114
His sufficient grace, new mercy, surpassing peace, and steadfast love lay the foundation for unhindered hope. Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” The unhindered and unwavering hope he gives is both deep and powerful. This hope will be realized when all things are made new. The pinnacle of history will prove our hope. Or at our death.
Case in point: Kim’s hope is now realized. Mine is looking forward.
“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven…” Colossians 1:3-5
So, hope is for us now, too. Not just a one-day hope. We are to live in hope even though it is yet to be realized. Embracing hope changes the way you live today. Ours is not some shallow here-and-now hope. Our temporal hope can be just as deep and powerful as our eternal hope.
“Loss will always leave us with lingering reminders of what was and what will never be, but it doesn’t have to leave us without hope. Hope is the mingling of joy and sorrow because hope is Jesus. God and man. Perfection and pain.” Katherine and Jay Wolf, Suffer Strong
Paul wrote the Colossians and identified the hope that was laid up in heaven as the reason for their manner of life now. He thanked God and prayed for them because they had a sincere faith in Christ and love for his people. Hope helps us live godly lives now. He goes on to admonish them in Colossians 1:23 not to shift “…from the hope of the gospel that you heard…” Instead, they are to continue in faith. They are to be stable and steadfast. The gospel inspires hope, and we live changed lives.
“When I cannot stand I’ll fall on You. Jesus, You’re my hope and stay…” Matt Maher, “Lord, I Need You”
I need stability and steadfastness in the midst of my storm. We all do. Because of hope in the gospel, we have that foundation, and we are equipped to stand firm.
Here’s my testimony: The gospel inspires unhindered hope in me, even as I face loss.
“But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” Romans 8:25
“If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” 1 Corinthians 15:19