Thursday, January 1, 2009

Losing Hope

December 31, 2008

The Night I Lost All Hope

By Elaine Bonds, She Speaks Graduate

"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)


I remember it so well -- the night I lost all hope. I had been hoping that my prodigal son was not lying to me. While I was 99% sure he was, I still clung to the 1% chance he was telling the truth. My heart simply refused to give up that final thread of hope.

As a condition of living in our home again, we asked that our 21-year old son attend a weekly support group meeting. We wanted him back home; his other living choice was not a good one. But we needed to establish boundaries, offering a safe place to live without tolerating or enabling his destructive behavior. We wanted to start rebuilding the trust we had lost. One building block was his Friday night support group meeting. Though our son said he was attending, in my heart I felt something was wrong.

One night I just had to know if he was living up to his commitment. I drove to the place where his meeting was held and my fears were confirmed: he was nowhere to be found. I went right home and waited. When he came home I asked about his meeting. "The meeting was fine. I'm tired and going to bed." I had caught him in a lie!

Hope left me and discouragement came quickly to replace it. I couldn't even confront him -- at least not yet. I needed time to wrestle with the loss of the 1% of hope. It was just a tiny bit of hope. No big loss, right? ... Wrong! That last 1% of hope is what I held onto the tightest. I was so angry and crushed. But then, God spoke. He chose a friend to speak His Words to me the very next day. She had no clue what was happening with our son. She just prayed what God prompted her -- for me to have HOPE! She emailed me her prayer:

"Father, You are the God of all hope. Your Word tells us that those who hope in You will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, and they will walk and not be faint. I pray this for Elaine this morning ... that she will place her HOPE in You and You alone ..."

Reading her prayer, it suddenly became clear to me. My hope had been in my son and in that weekly meeting. The hope I had lost -- that 1% I'd been clinging to -- was human hope. That kind of hope is in limited quantity, and when it runs out, you are left drained, discouraged, disappointed and ...hopeless! Oh, it may masquerade as "hope," but it is completely different from the hope that God provides. God's hope renews and refreshes. It empowers, uplifts, and strengthens. God's hope does not disappoint! There is an unlimited supply of God's hope.

God knew I had been clinging to human hope, and He knew that last 1% of weak, feeble hope would run out. He wanted me to cling to Him, the God of true, lasting, unlimited hope. So, as I wiped my tears, I waited as the winds of God's hope blew my way. My circumstances were still the same, but my heart was now filled with the hope that only God can provide.