I know what it feels like to not feel hope. To be desperate, to be afraid of the dark, and afraid of your own shadow. Even yesterday, I was up late into the night, staring at the ceiling, struggling with life.
But enough on that. I don't want to push it away or say that life is not hard or that is only a portion of my life. In fact, I am learning that most of life is a struggle. And I am not the only one who REALLY struggles. (such a good word, right? Sorry if I overuse the word "struggle," but it is so appropriate for what I am feeling. If you want, maybe substitute "wrestle with life," or use your imagination. But I like "struggle").
Ok, I take that back. I do not "like" struggle, or struggling, but I am realizing that is a fact of life. However, I just wasted two whole paragraphs talking about what you guys already know, but few people acknowledge -- life is hard. I say "wasted" because the struggle is not what has been occupying my attention or energy.
The struggles have been trying to drain me, to steal all that I have. They have been sucking away my hope and my sleep and my vitality. They've been giving me back problems and causing my hair to shed like a small animal. But still the struggles are not on the forefront of my mind.
At the front is hope.
Do you know hope? Not the person, though I have known many an amazing Hope. I mean the knowledge that goes through and deeper than feelings and emotions. The knowledge and the wish and the TRUST, that everything will be ok. That somehow you are going to make it.
Through the back pain, through the migraines, through the memories of trauma... Through the storms...
Its like having a really good friend. A true friend, you know? A true friend, that loves you. But not the kind of love that all of you are probably picturing, or even what I would picture. A true friend listens to all of your talk and doesn't call it jabbering; they sit through your tears. A true friend doesn't actually care if you reciprocate friendship-- even though this friend loves you, they will give without requiring back. They'll sit with you on sleepless nights, and walk with you when you are scared of the dark. Even more, a true friend would give anything for you, even if you didn't accept it. If you were in trouble, this friend would even give their life.
Perhaps you know someone like this. I know I WANT to be this kind of friend. And I have friends that I would call true, yet I do not hold them quite to this standard. My friends are human, after all. There might be some sleepless nights where they can't make it. But, however "cliche" it sounds, Jesus is a true friend. He even gave his life for me, for you, not caring if we would reciprocate or accept. But he wants it. In fact, he is so jealous for my/your friendship, that he waits outside the door, waiting for us to let him in. And if you're like me, maybe you've given him ownership... Sometimes he just sits at the table with you, waiting patiently for you to talk. Either way, he is a true friend. He is the reason why I hope.
SO we come back today. I have class, and I am living real life. I am priviledged to have real friends who look a lot like my best friend, but none are quite like him. He's the one I'm leaning into. And here's how I hope. I am going to hope so hard that I can't stand on my own. People will ask how I am, and I will say I can't stand, but it isn't because the struggles. It's because the second part of "I can't stand" is "without my Jesus."
Maybe I'm crazy. Maybe I'm misplacing my hope. But I don't care. I know I'm not a pessimist to say that the day will get harder sometimes. But I'm leaning in to my Hope-- my Jesus-- with all that I have. So I don't actually care. Bring on the rain.