sometimes, fresh starts come when you least expect it. last week, when i posed a question on twitter about hope vs. skepticism, a response came quickly from someone who rarely speaks with me. i asked how do you remedy the loss of hope.
he replied, "read your Bible & ask God to teach you to trust Him."
tears came quickly - big, fat, bitter filled and disappointed. i slammed my phone down on my nightstand and buried myself underneath the covers. closing my eyes, my thoughts scattered...my heart cowered in the corner - still raw with the hurt from the day.
really, God? really? that's all they have to say? i mean...you've been teaching me this whole "trust" thing for two years now. i get it. i know you'll provide.
but what about right now? what about when i can't stop the tears - when my heart won't come out from hiding - when the darkness seems unbearable?
i know you hold me. i know joy comes in the morning.
but what about when i'm faced with the blackness of night?
i was surprised by my reaction. in all reality, the advice given wasn't wrong. but i don't think it was right, either.
[and before you scroll down to hit the comment button to tell me how wrong i am...let me explain.]
i think, as christians, we are far too easily persuaded to throw bible verses at people, pat them on the back and turn away. i think, as christians, we expect the answer of "God is faithful - His will is perfect" to be absolutely sufficient in moments of struggle.
but what if God meant for us as christians, at that moment of struggle in someone's life, to nod our heads, hold out our hands, and say, i get it.
the answer of "read your Bible" did nothing to renew hope. it frustrated me. since the moment of disappointment, there'd been verses flowing through my head. trust in the lord. i know the plans i have for you. comfort me so i can live. when two or more are gathered in my name.
i didn't need scripture.
what i needed happened shortly after the first response. two or three people let me know i wasn't alone. they dealt with the same questions. slowly, other people started joining in on the conversation. others shared insight. and whereas the first response felt like a shrug in my direction, what came after felt like a collective embrace. we aren't alone in doubt - and doubt itself isn't sinful.
doubt can even bring you closer to Christ.
this weekend, russ & i escaped to houston for a benefit with hundreds of prayers from friends covering our retreat. they knew how much we needed respite. russ catered the event, and we stayed with friends who work for the ministry that began the feeding center in kibera. walking in to the house, the view startled me. bright blue skies. wide windows. green grass leaning towards a bay of water. we were immediately greeted with hugs and "how are yous" and "make yourself at homes"
for the first time in quite awhile, my heart began to breathe. slowly, i could feel it peeking out of hiding. hope wasn't as illusive as before. i could smell the possibilities of beginnings.
on sunday, i sat on the couch overlooking the sun stretching across the sky, reflecting its journey across the water. my own bones mimicked the exercise, relaxing against the deep cushions. i checked twitter and noticed a verse familiar to me posted on a friend's feed.
it was from Psalm 51, and a verse God gave me almost two years ago when we faced a particularly disappointing season: God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
i smiled. fixed on the verse, i couldn't help but hear the quiet voice of Him - singing over my wounds.
i know, my daughter. i know what you're facing - and i need you to know i'm doing something new. this chaos will not last forever. this is the year of my jubilee. wait. hold on. Rescue is coming.
i closed my eyes and rested my head against the pillow. my heart, following the motions of the sun and my bones, stepped out of the darkness and squinted against the light. i winced at the stretching - your heart gets stiff in hiding.
but taking another glance at the sun, i knew it was safe. joy does come in the morning, and with friends holding my hand and prayers lifted on our behalf, i knew the dawn was just over the horizon.