This has been a quote I have had to speak over myself for the last four months after losing Selah. My hope has to be greater than my fear. If it is not, life would be absolutely miserable and I would just stay in my shell of fear, anxiety and depression. I never battled with chronic anxiety before this tragedy, so this is all new to me. Most days it has been hard to believe my hope is more powerful than my fear. My fear can be paralyzing and in my human brain, fear feels safer than hope. You know why? Because when I fear then I do not have to trust God, I don’t have to worry about what people will think, and I don’t have to worry about being let down. It “feels” like fear is a way to protect me from getting my “hopes up”. I know everyone has heard that before, when things aren’t optimal, people will say “Don’t get your hopes up!” or you say it yourself. So instead of getting our hopes up, choosing to expect the worse is a better bet because at least you weren’t “let down.” I’m not saying you should always expect things to be great when obviously, terrible things happen. Sometimes when things are not going well it is wise to face the reality of the situation and not just cover it up by simply saying, “Oh, God’s got it.” I think a blanket statement like that can be sort of a false hope when you know the outcome is likely to not be in your favor.
So how do you achieve having more hope than fear when there are so many unknowns and we are obviously not in control? I believe the answer is: We can because God is. God is sovereign over everything. We can have faith in him because he has conquered death when he sent his son, Jesus, to earth. He died on the cross carrying all of our sin and then rose again proving he was indeed the son of God. So when we believe that this is truth, we are saved and will have hope that heaven is where we will have true peace. I have to remind myself that earth is not my forever home so I cannot expect that things will always go my way and I will be happy all the time. Since earth is not my true home, I will always be unsatisfied with the pain and strife I have to endure. So my hope comes from knowing that this life will never bring me the fulfillment I will receive when I’m with my heavenly father. My salvation is in Christ and that can never be taken away from me, no matter how hard life gets.
Although all of this is easier to be said than to be done, I can truthfully say I do feel this in my heart. Even though, some days I question God and feel upset, I know this is my baseline and is the simple answer for my troubles. So when I feel those anxious thoughts come up and I feel the fear stirring up inside of my heart, I have to remember this. Lamentations 3:32-33 says, “Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.”
God’s love for me, surpasses my knowledge of love. The only love I can relate it to is the love I have for my children. And even my love is not strong enough to save them. I have the ability to protect them but not the ability to guarantee eternity. So God’s unfailing love is put in perspective. He shows compassion to his children simply because he loves us. He does not bring pain to us, the pain is brought because in the beginning, mankind chose sin over a relationship with their Creator. So here we are now, a story of a father’s relentless love for his children. Our personal stories are so powerful and so unique. I love the story in John that describes when the disciples asked, “why was a man born with disability?” The scriptures reads like this, “As he was passing by, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” Jesus answered. “This came about so that God’s works might be displayed in him.” John 9:1-3 Jesus went on to heal this man through his words and his touch. He gave that man his deep love and that was enough to heal him.
Sin is in this world so bad things happen and sometimes for no reason at all, it is not because of your father’s, your mother’s or your brother’s sin. It is human kind that always seeks someone to blame for misfortune. But that through your story God’s work can be displayed. So we can have hope that God will act on our behalf even if it takes awhile. Because of his love.
“From ancient times no one has heard, no one has listened to, no eye has seen any God except you who acts on behalf of the one who waits for him.” Isaiah 64:4