When hope seems all but lost…

Where then is my hope? Who can see any hope for me?

(Job 17:15)

When your hope seems to fade.

I recently wrote about having our third consecutive miscarriage in under 18 months, and how it feels like it might be the end of the road.

This is partly because medical tests and monitoring haven’t been able to pinpoint any cause, or successful treatment. And also because we are running out of time as well; we both turn 40 next spring and the fertility clock continues to tick away…

But more than anything, it feels like it might be the end of the road because, the truth be told, we have both simply run out of hope.

Hope that next time might be different.

Hope for God to heal my body of whatever is going wrong.

Hope for our prayers to be answered, and a healthy pregnancy…

It hasn’t always been this way.

We used to be full of hope.

After our first miscarriage we were left surprised, but fully trusted that we would get pregnant again soon and that our next baby would be healthy.

After our second miscarriage, we were left painfully disappointed, but continued to trust that all things happen for a reason, even if we couldn’t see it right then…

During the endless waiting and tests and investigations of last summer, we hoped for answers or solutions that simply never came.

And when no diagnosable fertility problem or underlying condition was found, we hoped so much for a change in our fortune.

Then finally, when we got pregnant again in the spring and had healthy early scans, we held so much hope in our hearts that this baby would be to keep.

Not only that, God also sent us signs and encouragements along the way which strengthened our hope even more.

But in the end we still lost that baby anyway.

A hope that does not disappoint.

Romans 5 talks about having a hope that does not disappoint. But what do you do when your hope is left disappointed? Again, and again, and again?

We have a God who promises to heal our infirmities, but many of us still experience sickness in our own bodies.

A God who sets the captives free, but many of us still struggle with things that enslave us.

A God who redeems and makes all things new, but many of us still face broken situations in our own lives.

A God who has even overcome death, yet many of us still experience the pain of losing the people we love.

There’s so many situations in this life we’re hope does seem to leave us disappointed.

Where then is my hope?

So anyway, in the context of our most recent loss and all of these questions about faith, Job is a book that I have been drawn to reading again.

Because Job was a man who knew a thing or two about loss, and about running out of hope as well.

And his questions resonate so deeply with me right now, ‘Where then is my hope? Who can see any hope for me?’

I mean, what hope is to be found in these difficult realities in our lives?

What comfort, or answers, in the midst of our pain?

And what guarantee that hope won’t leave us disappointed again?

The answer, I think, is very little. Maybe even none. At least not this side of heaven.

But doesn’t our pain just throw up so many questions about God, and the unfairness of it all? Questions that demand to be listened to, and given some kind of answer.

Yet for the longest time, Job’s angry arguments and complaints about his suffering to God seemed to fall on deaf ears.

Isn’t that so often how our sadness and disappointment and hopelessness feels?

And it’s really easy to wonder if God notices or cares about us at all…

But finally in chapter 39 of the book, God begins to answer Job from out of the storm, challenging Him about how small his perspective is, and how little of God’s ways he really knows.

And if you read on a few more chapters, eventually Job responds, “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.”

And honestly, I still don’t know why things happen as they do either.

I don’t know why God hasn’t answered our prayers, or healed my body, or given us a healthy second child …

And sometime I want to shake my fists and God and tell him that if this is him loving us, then he can stick it!

But recently, the penny has started to drop; God doesn’t promise us hope in a certain outcome in this life, He offers us hope in Him.

He doesn’t promise us that life will always go as we want it to; but He promises us his presence will be with us, that He will never leave us or forsake us.

And I don’t know what pain or difficulty you might be facing right now, but I know that the answer has already been given; God gave us Himself.

Finding hope in Him

Still that’s all good and well to know, but practically speaking – how do you find your hope in Him, even when your heart is breaking or lying in pieces?

I think that maybe it just supernaturally happens when we allow Him to enter into our pain and draw us closer to Him, rather than pushing Him away.

Because whenever we draw closer to Him, we draw closer to experiencing who He really is.

Closer to his comfort.

Closer to his love.

Closer to his salvation.

Closer to his redemptive plans.

Closer to his grace.

Closer to finding out hope in Him alone.

And so whether I ever have another healthy pregnancy in the future or not, someday like Job, I hope to be able to say:

“Before my ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you.”

I am not there yet.

In fact, I am not even close.

But hope is the only place to begin.

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