Thursday, 3 December 2015

To the friend who's lost hope

My dear friend,

I've been where you are. Stumbling down a back road in the dark, trying to get away from myself and the mess I've become. Running from home, not because I wanted to leave, but because I didn't deserve to stay. I've cried up and down both sides of the pavement while the neighbour dogs barked, wondering how I ever came to be the person in these shoes.

And I've felt it. The clutching, gut-punching blast of hopelessness.

I've looked at the stars and known there is a God, and that maybe He even loves me, but He can't possibly change me. I used to believe He could. I pinned all my hopes and dreams on that belief when things got tough, when I faltered, and failed, and failed again.

But this time, the failure runs so deep and it's tainted everything, it has become me and I have become it. And sure, God is gracious and good, but when I look at myself I can't see how it's had any effect whatsoever. The problem's not Him. It's me.

I've lost faith. And I've trudged cold-hearted and shame-faced back home, only to stand in the yard and see the lighted windows and feel like a stranger.

And I've believed all the beautiful news can be true, but not for me. I've tried, and I'm still this sobbing wreck after all these years. This time, I can't go on. I can't go in.

And life goes on, and we keep going through the motions because there is nothing else. But we wonder how we'll ever walk in faith again. We cannot see past this dark night. We cannot see past ourselves.

My dear friend,

I am not so very far down the road, but I think I may just see the morning star. Don't get me wrong. I have not increased my capacity to create faith. But in the howling waste of hopelessness, there has been a humbling. I've been wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked, and I've known it.

And somehow I've been given the grace to hold on to the truth that God's goodness and grace are not dependent on how well I've performed with them. The promises have seemed so very far from me. And even now I don't know how and when they will get hold of me and bring about the change I so desperately need.

But even faith to believe in the far off is a gift. And maybe there are days I don't have it at all. But I know it comes from God the Faithful. All I can do is ask. All I can do is seek. All I can do is knock on that door. And wait. Wait for the sky to break and the sun to warm me.

There have been no magic words, no perfect days, no overnight miracles. There have simply been more days with the possibility of mercy slipping in the back door.

My dear friend, you are not alone.

And I will hold your hand when the sleepless dark seems like all there is. And I will sing of the morning star when it dawns. And we will wait for faith and hope to come, together. There is still a welcome, because He who calls us is Faithful.


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