Reaching for Hope

Reaching for Hope
“Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit! ’And having said this, He breathed His last.” - Luke 23:46

 These last weeks defy description. There are no words for all of it. Sometimes the best thing I have been able to do is simply stop talking, stop explaining, stop trying to figure things out, and listen. And God has indeed spoken, over and over and over again.

Through Scripture: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me. Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.” Thou art with me in my grief; in the hands and feet and voices and hearts of my family and friends; in food, in fellowship, in generosity, in encouraging words and tight hugs and simple silent companionship. And yes, I am comforted.

Through song: “I’ll praise You in this storm, and I will lift my hands, for You are who You are, no matter where I am;” “What if Your blessings come through raindrops, what if Your healing comes through tears? What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near?”; “Your tears will dry, your heart will mend, your scars will heal, and you will dance again;” These are words of reassurance and encouragement, words rich in meaning, words that have helped to see me through a hard, dark, and—in spite of people’s best efforts sometimes lonely time. Lonely because grief is so deeply personal that there is always some part of it that no one else can share.

Never before have I gone so deep into God. With His last breath on the cross, Jesus cried out, “Father, into Your hands I commit my Spirit.” This was a prayer taught to Hebrew children, much as generations of children in more recent times learned “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.” It was a prayer that said, “God, I know that I can rest, because You will keep me safe.”

Think about that. On the cross, Christ was abandoned by God. This is the true burden He bore, the true sacrifice He made for you and me. Unable to look at our sin, God Himself turned away from His Son, and left Him there to die alone. And yet, in that howling, desperate bleakness, still Jesus trusted the Father. Still He prayed the prayer of His childhood. Still He said, in effect, “Father, I trust You utterly.” How can I, how can we, who will never know that despair, do otherwise?

And so, we must do as the Savior did. Trust the Father. Reach for hope. No matter how dark things may be, no matter how hard the road, or how lonely, or how frightening, or how sad, we can reach out, grab hope, and hang on for all we are worth. Sometimes it’s all we have. But it is enough. Always, hope is enough.


No Comments