All of this sounds ironic, or maybe just plain wrong. Could it be true?
My parents' first child, Joel, died tragically after he was only a few hours old. His tiny lunges swelled with air only a few times and then failed. My parents were crushed. The darkness poured in all around them. Tears smeared their view. In the midst of their paralyzing sorrow, they put their hope in God. Right in the middle of their profound grief, God's love for them lifted their hearts from the pit of sadness. They looked to him for comfort and he did not fail. His goodness encircled them and gave them another child. When I was born, they named me Hope.
Would I have been named Hope without this pain? Does Hope not come from sorrow? If we do not see any need to change our present circumstances, what is there to hope for? In other words, if all is well, do we really need hope? If I am happy; If my life couldn't be better, what purpose does hope serve? Only those in the dark look for a beacon. If a light goes on in the daytime, we hardly notice it. Hope shines brightest in the deepest blackness.
Hope isn't the same as "wish." We all wish for things everyday. We wish it would stop raining. We wish someone would hurry up. We wish we could lose a few pounds or go on an exotic vacation. Even Disney characters wish upon a star! We wish, but we don't hope. Wishing and hoping are not the same. Wish is a fanciful desire;HOPE is the desire of all desires. Hope is an inner longing for the change of present circumstances with the optimistic expectation that it WILL happen because God is good. It is an assuredness in God's faithfulness. Hope is the belief that despite this present darkness, day will come! And as ironic as it may sound, we need the "bad" to help us hope for the "good." We need the night to make us long for day.
Today, we celebrate the risen Christ. Easter songs ring out with hope. Though Christ was crucified and buried, he has come back to life! Alleluia! He lives! What greater hope is this than to know that we worship the risen Lord!
While I enjoy my life and am thankful for God's earthly blessings, I also long for the day when my body won't ache, my heart won't break and my soul will be united with the risen Christ. The aching and the breaking stir up that longing. On the good days, when things go right, I forget. Lord willing, I have many days ahead of me. There will be joys, as well as sorrows. Some days will be happier than others, in earthly terms. And along the way, the world may make some of my wishes come true, but it cannot satisfy my desire of desires to be with Jesus. My hope rests in his words alone:
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. You trust in God, trust also in me...I go to prepare a place for you and will come back and take you to be with me that you may be where I am."
Have a happy, hope filled Easter.