I prayed for the healing of a terminally ill baby girl this week. I clung desperately to the fraying rope of my mind's hope that God would save and heal with a much needed miracle. I just checked in with her mother and was told that this precious baby passed away in the ICU. Thud. My heart plummets to the dark bottom. My throat tightens. My faith is sliced open; cut into by the brutal reality that is hard to accept let alone understand; that not all prayers we offer up are answered in the way we expect or want. God, but why? And why not?
It seems even more vicious that this occurred in the weeks of the year that we celebrate joy, peace, love and hope. While so many of us are preparing our homes for Christmas and anticipating the upcoming days with gladness, this young mother is now preparing for a double burial; the one of her beloved child and of her own heart. She is trying to survive without them both and sitting inside the dark grief so deep and vast, most of our minds cannot fathom.
It is in these, the very cruelest of moments here, that we all must rely on what is always true and what is not found down on earth's surface. One of the intangible things: Hope. It is nested in Christ, our hope-incarnate and in the place of Heaven; built with eternal foundation stones of deep love and is the hope for us all and where this sweet child now fully lives.
She is now abiding in the place where feeding tubes and monitoring machines are never required for sustaining life, because Life is always present, in the musical chamber of the eternal song. She now is in the place of wholeness, nevermore to experience the pain and struggle this world so copiously gives. I can thank God for this at least, and it makes this horrific blow a bit more manageable and removes some of the jagged barbs from my soul.
But, my tender mommy-heart still aches. Even though I know without a doubt that this child is safe and sound in this everlasting-joy-filled place, her mother remains here, fading away. Now, she is scraping her once held high hopes off the stone cold ground and must try to attempt to move through her life in the place of long-suffering with one labored breath and thought at a time. She must ask herself and God how it is even possible to do so.
This is why my dear friends, our search and understanding of real, unbreakable Hope is so vital. It is critical we do so because life here so often is inexplicable and impossible to comprehend. Everything here eventually dies and disappoints, it comes with the territory. We must reach deep where only God's word can help satisfy our pulsating-ache-need and longing for answers, especially when answers seem totally hidden from view.
The Apostle Paul gives testimony to this hope. He, being one who walked in the heavenly realm with Jesus for a time wrote what he knew first-hand and intimately: "I pray also that you will have greater understanding in your heart so you will know the hope to which he has called us and that you will know how rich and glorious are the blessings God has promised his holy people." (Ephesians 1:18 NCV, emphasis added)
This verse of promise should always help keep the candle of hope aflame in our hearts! Indeed this brief life here ends in death and loss and sadness, each and every time, whether we pass on within weeks or after decades. But if we know and believe the One who made a way to eternal hope through faith alone, all is not lost, but instead all is found and it is something in which we can find peace and rest. It is a lantern that lights the often dark path we must often walk in the here and now.
Why do horrible things happen? They just do. This world has been cracked and severed for centuries, since the famous fall of man. But, with the covenant offered to humanity on Christmas, we all can light the torch of faith no matter what our journey's hold and it will light our way. Even when the worst happens, especially when the worst happens.
I will remain in prayer for that dear mother, whose life is now carved out hollow. She thankfully does know with her spiritual heart and mind that her daughter is now fully healed and held by God in the City where nothing ever dies. She will see her and hold her again, never be separated again. For this, I am grateful.
Qavvah is a one of the words in Hebrew for hope that means cord or attachment along with a feeling of expectation and anticipation for something to happen. God's promises in His word are our golden cord to Heaven. We can all wait in Qavah with assured hearts that this secure, unbreakable bonding cord connects us to eternity and disconnects us from death, mourning, crying and pain (Rev. 21:4).
This Christmas, let's all seek and find comfort in our everlasting Hope. Let us clasp tightly to this gift that does not end or spoil and let's try and remember to offer extra love and compassion to those who need to hold on to hope's cord tighter than ever this year. May God bless us all, especially the heartbroken with loved ones now suddenly gone, walking in the darkened valley of void. If you see their lantern is burned out, offer them some of your oil and share the best thing you have to give: Hope.
Question: Who do you know that needs the light of hope? Prayerfully consider sharing this eternal gift with them this Christmas.