You’re out there, friend, somewhere on the other side of this screen.
I feel like I can sort of see you, maybe because we've been in this a while together. And maybe I sense that you are a little burdened, like me. Like maybe we’re mirror images, both wearing the careworn expression of people feeling a bit bent down by the heavy weight of worry. Like we both know where we’re supposed to take this burden — straight to Jesus — but we got a little lost on the way there.
Friend, I get you.
I was on the way home from church the other day, looking out on these fresh-shaven farmfields. I felt heavy in my soul. Our news feeds are filled with stories about school shootings and refugees fleeing for their lives and terrorists holding knives to necks. People I love are hurting terribly. Divorce. Lost jobs. Abandonment. Brokenness of every variety.
Earlier, in the sanctuary, the gospel was spread open on my lap. I had read every word with my own two eyes — four times — and I willed myself to feel peace, but I felt anxiety. I had a pile of stuff crowding around my heart, and the gospel wasn’t touching any of it. Not right then. But it would come later, on the way home. For the word of God never returns void.
Out there on the open road from church to home, I remembered a June day in 2004, in the delivery room, when Anna was making her entrance into the world fast, like she was destined to be a sprinter. She came into the world so quickly, that there was no time for the guy to show up with the epidural.
I felt weighed down with pain, red-faced, and I didn’t think I was going to make it. But a nurse named Hope went nose-to-nose with me: “Breathe. Remember to breathe. You know how to breathe. So breathe.”
And then she reminded me how -- a woman named Hope reminded me how to breathe. Hope breathed with me, as Anna sprinted her way into the world.
Whatever we’re birthing? Whatever we’re carrying?
Hope is a midwife, helping us to breathe.
Out with the pain.
In with the Spirit.
Repeat, as often as necessary. And again and again. There’s no shortage of oxygen, no shortage of God.
I remembered that moment while driving home from church, on an unseasonably warm autumn day in 2015. I remembered it on a day when this busted-up, cynical world made breathing feel hard. Falling into cynicism is easy on hard days. Hope? Hoping takes work. Hoping takes guts. Hoping is not for wimps.
We live in an age of cynicism, and it's tempting to join in. The cynics will tell you that you're being naive with your hope. But hope isn't a sign of weakness. It's a sign of your strength.
Hope is an offensive move against the myth of scarcity -- this myth that tells us that there's not enough hope to go around, because of the prevailing hurt in the world.
But that's not true. There's more than enough hope, because God is always enough. God is not a scarce commodity, and hoping in him is never wrong.
Hope helps us breathe.
Remember the thousands of people who had come to see Jesus on the hillside? The crowds grew hungry. The disciples assumed that there wouldn't be enough food to feed them. The disciples believed the myth of scarcity. But Jesus produced the reality of abundance, dispelling the myths of not enough.
In the end, everybody ate. Afterward, they took up what was left, and it filled twelve baskets full.
The gospel is the story of abundance -- an abundance of hope for us all. The gospel is the story of one Savior who remarkably came to die for all, so that no one would perish. He breathed his last, so we would breathe eternally -- the breath of hope, the steady rhythm of heaven alive in you.
Hey Tell His Story crew! It is a joy to gather here every week with you. The linkup goes live each Tuesday at 4 p.m. (CT). If you would use the badge on your blog, found here, that would be great! And if you would visit at least one other blogger in the link-up and encourage them with a comment, that would be beautiful! Be sure to check the sidebar later. I’ll be featuring one of you over there! Our featured writer this week is Kaitlyn Bouchillon, and just like me, she deeply loves Haiti. Her words about people receiving clean water for the first time are beautiful: "God can look one million different ways, but sometimes He looks just like watching your clear water bottle fill up with clean, life-giving water in a place where God always was. Even when you can’t see Him, He’s there, the Living Water." Find Kaitlyn here. To be considered as our featured writer, be sure to use our badge or a link to my blog from your post. :) xo Jennifer