A Story That Changed My Life

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. -Hebrews 6:19

 

During my recent weeks of recovery when for the better part of the day all I could do was lie in bed, I came across this book. From the first chapter it was like God was saying, “See Molly, I know exactly what you’re going through and what you’re thinking and exactly what you need to hear right now.” What’s funny is that this dear couple’s story is so vastly different from mine yet in a way I knew so very well their feelings of shock when tragedy hit, the feelings of despair, survival, and then that glimmer of hope, hope that there’s so much more than what we’re going through. Except in reading this book I realized that what I thought was hope really wasn’t hope at all. I think in times of hardship we just want to hunker down and stay in that hypothetical fetal position until the storm blows over and then we will have reached what we hoped for–the ending to the pain. But our God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts not our thoughts. The hope He longs to give is the kind that we can take hold of right now wherever we are. We don’t have to wait until we reach “higher ground.” It’s an effort, it’s a choice, and it takes thinking outside of what comes naturally to us. But it’s the only thing that brings us each the healing that we need. Because even though the path that each of us walk is so different, we all need the exact same antidote. I hope you’ll read their story for yourself and let the words of Jay and Katherine Wolf touch your heart like they did mine. But for now I wanted to include some of my favorite excerpts that I felt were just filled with so much wisdom and truth.

{Below you can watch their short film as well as find access to their website and the link to purchase their book.}

 

I considered the reality that sometimes suffering comes because of the decisions we make; sometimes it comes as a way for God to gauge His place in our hearts; and sometimes it comes simply as a by-product of living in a world that is in a state of falling apart. Yet no matter the origin of the suffering, God’s presence remains the same. He finds us in our hurts, if we want to be found. His power to filter the worst that life has to offer, with goodness remaining, is our great hope.

How quickly we forget the miracles of our past as we step into an uncertain future, fearing we’ve used up our allotment of God’s provision and we’re all out of miracles.

Don’t wait to celebrate the life you have been given, even if it looks different from the one you thought you would have.

Don’t doubt truth just because you are in darkness now. What’s true in the light is true in the dark.

If we pray for patience, God doesn’t just give us patience; rather, He gives us opportunities to be patient. If we pray for courage, He gives us opportunities to be courageous.

The call to give thanks, not at the end, but in the midst, began to reverberate inside us. We may never arrive at the ending we hoped for, so if we waited until then to celebrate all that had been given to us, that celebration might never come at all. We were learning, ever so slowly, the truth of what John Newton wrote: “All shall work together for good; everything is needful that He sends; nothing can be needful that He withholds.”

We became increasingly aware that when it seems you’ve gotten everything you hoped for and yet are left longing, perhaps those hoped for things weren’t the truest hope. If hope is only rooted in an outcome, then your expectations will crush you. This season of unrest began to spark a firestorm of questioning, and we found ourselves redefining many things in every area of our lives. What was our truest home? What was our truest hope? Could all the good things we longed for actually be drawing us away from the one thing that is the truest fulfillment of all our desires?

Naturally, our individual story will seem to be the central story in all of creation because in each of our tiny, personal universes, it is! But we are all in pain, though the sources vary. This understanding should inspire us to love everyone well, even when we feel we are the ones most hurting and thus most deserving of everyone else’s attention and love. When we collectively mourn our losses and strain toward hope, our hearts expand. We begin to respond with empathy and realize that we all share the story of brokenness, and thus we all share the need for hope.

Conditional gratitude is not gratitude at all. Real gratitude draws us into a celebration of thanks in the midst of doubts and fears–and not just in spite of them, but because of them.

Did we want what He gives or did we want Him? Did we want the deliverance from the hurt or did we want the Deliverer of hope? God was inviting us into a deeper relationship with Him. He was inviting us into a relationship of trust, built not on what He would give us but on who He was.

As our ministry and connections to more hurting people grew, we continued to find that sacrifice is the central theme of love and faith, and we asked ourselves how they all connected. What if the good resulting from our pain inured not to our own benefit but to the benefit of strangers?

We were seeing humanity with different eyes as we recognized that we were being asked to sacrifice things we held dear so that someone else, perhaps someone we would never know, might find the hope they needed. Were we willing to lie down on altars or hospital beds, enduring all manner of loss, so that something truly lost might be found, so that a prodigal might become a beloved child? It becomes clearer and clearer that this was our calling–to play our role in divine appointments, to be vessels overflowing with with hope for a good greater than just our own.

One day, we will see. One day, the arc of our stories will all make perfect sense. One day, we will trace the lines of our scars and find them to have fallen in the most pleasant of places, to see in them our great inheritance. One day, we won’t need to hope, nor will we need to be healed because we will be face-to-face with the source of both, the source of everything…Jesus.

Suffering powerfully informs who I am now. While awful and painful, affliction has led to a heartbreaking but beautiful deepening in me. I have learned to embrace the suffering. I have learned to not push back, but to lean in hard when it hurts the most and press on. Pain has been an instructor, teaching me deeper truths about myself and God and bringing me closer to Christ in a way I never was before this happened. The pain has weighed heavily on our shoulders and hearts, threatening to crush us, but we have not been crushed. The hope in our hearts has always been greater than despair because it anchors us.

I believe we are all here for purposes beyond ourselves and beyond our comprehension. We were born to know and to manifest the God who heals our souls and calls us into the kind of life that doesn’t end with death. 

Purchase their book: http://amzn.to/2pDhi8h
Visit their website: http://www.hopeheals.com

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