When I met hope, in my fifty-fifth year, on the southward side of a high mountain in North Carolina, it was unmistakable. Hope, for many years of my spiritual journey, was overshadowed by faith and love. Love’s relentless wooing had won me with its unspeakable beauty, mystery, and grace. Faith became the ‘yes’ within me on which I slowly began to stake my whole life, while hope remained invisible and elusive. Faith and love built my self-confidence until I broke inside, then faith began to fade and love dimmed. It was in my despair that I met hope. It had been resting in the shadows between faith and love. It was in the suffering, wounded, and broken places of my life that hope began to come out of the shadows and bring me to wholeness. It was in the emptiness and stillness between faith and love, in the hollow of a heart carved out by despair, that hope took hold.
What I realized on that unforgettable day was that hope had always lingered in the shadows of my darkest times. What awakened within me was that precisely when faith crumbles and love dims, hope begins. Hope is not the same thing as optimism. Rather, hope, in its purist form, is perfect freedom perfected as we choose to accept in Love whatever God brings as good. For those who deliberately choose to act only for the glory of God and the good of others, to eliminate all selfish motives from their lives and their work, hope becomes the golden cord in the landscape of their quest. It is the certainty that something makes sense, is worth the cost, regardless of how it might turn out. Hope is a sense of what might yet be. Hope is precisely what I had when I had nothing. It strains ahead, seeking a way behind, through, and beyond every obstacle. Hope does not try to determine how God’s way will be shown but remains open to new and astonishing manifestations of God’s presence at work in the circumstances of life. The more difficult the circumstances, the deeper the hope. This is the delight in despair. The Hidden Life Awakened (180)
I pray that the Holy Spirit will speak to your heart as you read these words. They come in obedience with the longing always that you might begin to taste the hope, the freedom, and the peace of Jesus.
In the warmth of His recreative Love, I remain your faithful friend. ~Betty
With gratitude to Sally Chester for the beautiful image of Betty