His hand reached out for mine on top of the sheets. And we held on tight. That grip that says, “Please don’t let me go. If you let go I may fall.” He was on his knees. I lay my head on my pillow, wondering what happened to the now-I-lay-me-down-to-sleep kinds of prayers.
When did life twist to need these hopeless prayers of crying out and pouring out and wringing out our hearts together in the dark? When did we first notice just how small we are?
His words got caught behind the lump in his throat. He lost his balance. He paused and pressed on, laying all of it down on a three hundred thread count altar. Our grip tightened.
I whispered ancient words, imprinted on my heart in deep red letters: suffering produces patience, patience produces character, and character produces hope. And hope does not disappoint us…
I know and believe the words to be true, but logic gets in the way every time. It causes me to hesitate. And I breathe fearful and disappointed words into the night: Hope is always about what isn’t, I say. It is always about what’s missing, I mutter.
We sink to our knees and whisper timid words that ache with barrenness, or emptiness, or grief because of what we’ve lost, I blame.
And then, weaving its way through my accusations, silently and gently squeezing in, just in time, Yet falls from Heaven and slips into place on this altar.
This word finds its way through a small space between our tightly clasped hands. It adds itself, completing and changing the meaning, filling our hearts with truth, and overflowing them with hope.
In that instant I say and know the truth: Hope is not about what isn’t. Hope is always about what isn’t yet.
We sink to our knees and whisper timid words because of what isn’t yet. In moments where we trudge through life between a weathered cross and a not-yet-empty tomb, it brings us to our knees.
It causes us to lay our quivering and undone hearts on makeshift altars in the night. When I stumble over disappointments in the dark, and feel swept away in hopelessness, even then it is hope that causes me to cry out to the One who is faithful, despite my chronic faithlessness.
Our situation hasn’t changed, but on our altar, we’ve shifted our grip. No longer holding on for dear life, together we hold fast to the One who gives life. We have put our hope, again, in Him. We send forth heavy sighs of hope for unknowns that are yet to be.
And though we don’t yet see it, our hands and hearts are open to receive this hope that does not disappoint.