Daring to Hope.

"There comes a point where it all becomes too much. When we get too tired to fight anymore. So we give up. That's when the real work begins. To find hope where there seems to be absolutely none at all"
- Grey's Anatomy

I'm not sure when it happened, but at some point I became pretty despondent about life in Worcester. I think I got tired of it hurting and I just switched off. I guess the simplest way of summing it up is that I have a lot of hope for my future, but feel pretty hopeless about my present.

I've written this post quite a few times and during that time my heart has changed from believing my lack of faith causes me to be hopeless, to a point where I realise that believing in hope - even when you feel hopeless - is the very definition of faith.

Faith: complete trust or confidence in something based on spiritual conviction

One of the times when I feel most connected with God is during sung worship; be that alone at home whilst I do the housework, at church on a Sunday or in a field with thousands of others. It's easy sometimes to sing without really hearing the words though, particularly when you drift through life feeling quite hopeless. You Are Here (The Same Power) came on the other day and hit me hard...

"The same power that conquered the grave lives in me, lives in me"

Jesus' death and Resurrection is quite probably the most dramatically hopeful event that occurred in the history of...forever. The same power that raised Jesus from death to life lives in us...and if that wasn't a kick in the teeth for hopelessness enough? His Resurrection paved the way to an intimate personal relationship with our heavenly Father, the giver of all life and hope.

"The same power that conquered the grave lives in me, lives in me"

Flip. That's huge, right? No matter how hopeless a situation, it is not beyond God's reach, and his power to overcome even the most hopeless things? It's already living in us. 

My situation is Worcester feels pretty hopeless. The longing for reconciliation of broken relationships feels pointless and futile (and quite probably, just leaving myself open for further hurt). However, when I say everything feels hopeless that is not including my enthusiastically and ever optimistic curate Owen, and God. Owen has hope for reconciliation of broken friendships, I don't know how, I don't know why and he knows full well I'm pretty dubious about his hope...yet he hopes anyway. I like that about him. God's word tells me He has hope too, that no situation is beyond His reach. We see it again and again in the Gospels, through Jesus' miracles, through healings and restorations and resurrections. 

"What is impossible with man is possible for God" - Luke 18:27

Daring to look beyond a hopeless situation to a hopeful God takes faith. It also takes community. Now, I don't really have a "church community" in the traditional sense right now. I have no small group. I can't currently serve at my church. However, I do have a group of ladies I knit with, a couple of children whose love teaches me more about faith than I could ever believe, a lady who wants to help me pursue the prophetic, a lady I'm going to start Bible studying with, a few friends who I'm trying to trust even though it's hard having been hurt and a network of Christians online who provide encouragement and support. These people are my community. They may not be traditional but they are my people and I love them.

One of these people said to me the other day that it's not okay. Not being able to serve is not okay. People not working towards reconciliation is not okay. Not having a small group is not okay. Having been hurt (and people probably feeling hurt in return) is not okay. BUT, that this is not a reflection of God. It is a reflection of my brokenness, their brokenness, the church's brokenness. It's a reflection of a world that is not okay. And most importantly? It is not a reflection of how God feels about me, them or the church. The only response is to believe in hope. Hope for the future. Hope for reconciliation. Hope for the church. Hope for the world. 

So as I head into another week of daring to hope when all around feels hopeless I pray that God fill me (and you!) with joy and peace as we trust Him with our lives, and that the power of His Holy Spirit fills us with hope until we overflow (Romans 15:13).

Laura x

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