When all you have is hope

I learned last night that several of our friends are suffering with a faimly in their church who lost a very young child in an accident yesterday. There is nothing quite like the death of a child, especially a tragic, unexpected death, to back us into a corner and bring out the question of “why” in our hearts!

This morning I was lead to Phillip Yancy’s book, Disappointment With God. It’s an honest look at the reality of my own accusatory questions. This kind of unfairness certainly brings it out in me. This kind of suffering makes me think that somehow God could do a better job of running His world. While there are no easy answers, there is some good perspective. Yancy quotes a hurting individual who had gained this perspective saying, “I have learned to see beyond the physical reality in this world to the spiritual reality. We tend to think ‘Life should be fair because God is fair.’ But God is not life. And if I confuse God with the physical reality of life, then I set myself up for a crashing disappointment.” Yancy observes a statement by Dr. Paul Brand to the question, “Where is God when it hurts?” Dr. Brand replied, “He is in you, the hurting one, not in it, the thing that hurts.” It’s a reality check for me.

It’s true that we can all feel the pain of these who are basically strangers to us. It is the image of God in us that stirs our emotions and turns our hearts to those who’s lives are deeply affected by this loss. It is here that we bear a burden for the family that they cannot possibly bear on their own. In this moment, we lay our own life down for a friend, even a friend whom we never met. Yancy observes that we bear the grief with hope, knowing that the only remedy for the unfairness of life is the arrival of the new heaven and new earth. As a time bound creature, we can only exercise our faith to believe in advance what will only make sense in reverse. Trust God for His ultimate goodness, a goodness that exists outside of time, a goodness that time has not yet caught up with. It will be a day when the dust of this earth is completely washed away and all we see is the powerful radiance of all that is good.  As we share our heart and grief with Him, we trust that He’s already there! It is here that our heartfelt cry is indeed “better than a hallelujuh” and we connect with a hope that extends well beyond our understanding.
Steven Curtis Chapman give wings to our hearts cry:
We have this hope as an anchor
‘Cause we believe that everything
God promised us is true, so …

So we can cry with hope
And say goodbye with hope

We wait with hope
And we ache with hope
We hold on with hope
We let go with hope