finding hope

Posted: February 17th, 2010 | Filed under: life | Tags: | 7 Comments »

I think emotional hell is in the absence of hope. The product of perceived separation from God. With no God, there is no forgiveness of sins. There is an eternal weight of failure that you can never unload whether you want to or not. There is no sorry that is sufficient, there is no rebuilding, there is no remaining chance. There is no opportunity to reach the destination your entire awareness has been reaching for your whole life and hell is knowing you have more life to live.

Hell is being awake to feel the most dreadful things. It’s the cramping and convulsing of knowledge that you have gone too far.

It’s screaming from behind a sealed off room.

Hope hangs on if there’s a chance that nobody has heard your cries yet. However, if you are heard and still sealed away, then that is where hell is.

Hell is not in knowing that no one can save you. It’s knowing that no one wants to save you. It’s the belief that you are not worth saving.

Separation from God is found in your faith. You find the object of your faith when you find the reason for your hope.

  • If you hoped in your capacity to succeed. Your god is your potential.
  • If you hoped in your license to be forgiven. Your god is your worth.
  • If you hoped in your ability to earn back your standing. Your god is your appeal.

I think God lets us feel hopelessness because it’s the ultimate purification of faith.

When you are at the very end of yourself and all of the things that gave you hope are gone. What if everyone washes their hands of you? What if the mountains, after seeing you, pick up their skirts and walk away from you? What if the stars stop glimmering and blooming flowers lose their smell? Where does your hope come from then?

No one to remind you, nothing to look forward to, no songs sang for you, no letters written to you. Nothing giving you value or, even, evidence of your existence. You’re the ashes of a burned picture, the footprints from an estate sale, an empty crematory incinerator.

Where does your hope come from then?

Have you ever been so lost that your own thoughts are a startler to the otherwise ‘nothing’?

Don’t be afraid to doubt what you thought you knew and question your faith. Doubting everything is the precursor to finding the authentic Truth. Don’t fear questions about what you believe. If the Truth is true, then no question can unravel it.

In all of your doubting, questioning and thinking, it must, at some point, occur to you that you do exist. If you exist, then there must be more. If there is more, then there must be hope.

If hopelessness purifies faith, and mature faith is the goal, then were you put in this place for that reason? You can say that your own failures got you here, but since when was Jesus death not enough to put an end to sin as the end? If sin isn’t the deciding factor regarding you, then it has lost its power.

He’s going to clean house—make a clean sweep of your lives. -Matthew 3:12

Where do they go from here? They’ve lost their good name, their faith in themselves and now sin can’t even define them.

He’ll place everything true in its proper place before God; everything false he’ll put out with the trash to be burned. -Matthew 3:12

The only thing left is hope because this time as an outcast has proven to be crucial. If you hadn’t gone through the dark, you would not know what you know. If you had no reason to doubt and question, you wouldn’t have found the answers that changed everything. There is always hope because not only does your failure say nothing about you, but it’s actually sovereignly used to make you real. And we need more real.

Let the Truth breathe new life into your death. When what you thought should have ruined you didn’t, then what is there left? Nothing but hope that your own personal hell has a purpose. Your faith has been purified and made mature.

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. -James 1:2-4


7 Comments »


7 Comments on “finding hope”

  1. 1 Ellen said at 8:38 am on February 17th, 2010:

    my faith-life has been forced out in the open, and it is not as pretty as i though it was. i'm glad i found your site, Serena. you know, when i first read your book, i kinda thought it was more about me learning to GIVE grace, but now i realize how much of it i am NEEDING.

    thanks!

  2. 2 Kathy Schwanke said at 8:59 am on February 17th, 2010:

    Yes I have been there! This is blessed and beautiful encouragement! Truth has proven true in my life!

    Blessings!

    Kathy

  3. 3 Jason said at 9:15 am on February 17th, 2010:

    Fantastic thoughts. This is something I've struggled with in a mighty way this year. At the start of the year I prayed for a "theme" for 2010 and the word I kept getting was "hope." For me, that was an interesting word because the last 10 years haven't had much of that.

    So far, 2010 hasn't had much of it either. In fact, I've had some even darker times where I wonder if God was just kidding when he said the word was "hope." Now as I read your post, I wonder if it's like you wrote…"God lets us feel hopelessness because it’s the ultimate purification of faith." I've never looked at it that way. If so, I've been purifying for a while now. 🙂

    Thank you for your posts, Serena.

  4. 4 m* said at 9:25 am on February 17th, 2010:

    * If you hoped in your capacity to succeed. Your god is your potential.

    * If you hoped in your license to be forgiven. Your god is your worth.

    * If you hoped in your ability to earn back your standing. Your god is your appeal.

    Worth several reads over several visits to get even some of this into your soul.

    But you might hate it too.

  5. 5 SacredHope said at 10:29 am on February 17th, 2010:

    For all of my life, I hoped (yearned / ached / dreamed / obsessed) in my ability to create life, bear children, breastfeed babies.

    My god was my fertility, my femininity, the 'mommy club'…

    .

    .

    …after five dark, hopeless, grief-filled years of what 'they' call infertility… there is new Life in that death, but not in the way I thought it would emerge…

    .

    .

    "Let the Truth breathe new life into your death. When what you thought should have ruined you didn’t, then what is there left? Nothing but hope that your own personal hell has a purpose. Your faith has been purified and made mature."

    My soul now rejoices in theTruth:

    God is the giver of Life.

    God is good.

    God is faithful.

    God created this heart of mine, full with a capacity to love Him and others.

    God will determine my steps, will knit together our family *perfectly* in His time…

    "God sets the lonely in families…" (Ps 68:6)

    "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a **living hope** through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead!.." (1 Peter 1:3)

    .

    .

    …waiting with joyful anticipation, focused on my Living Hope….

    .

    .

    amen.

  6. 6 Serena Woods said at 2:17 pm on February 17th, 2010:

    Ellen: I love hearing your perspective. What you said is so common and true! You have to see your need for grace before you can ever give it to anyone else. If you don't have a need for it, then how do you know what it is? The greater the gift, the bigger the requirement. 🙂

    Kathy: Those who have been there 'know.' It's crazy how the pain that nearly destroyed is saturated with purpose and overwhelming grace.

    Jason: I don't know your story at all, but am so appreciative when you let me know that I hit something inside you. 🙂

    M*: 🙂 it's a fact, the truth convicts before it sets free. Knowing what it sets free is the key.

    SacredHope: So painfully beautiful. 🙂

  7. 7 nikkie said at 5:52 pm on February 18th, 2010:

    love it.


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