“I cry out in the night before thee. Let my prayer come before thee; incline thy ear to my ear. . . I’m standing my ground, God, shouting for help, at my prayers every morning, on my knees each daybreak. For as long as I remember I’ve been hurting, I’ve taken the worst you can hand out and I’ve had it. . . I’m bleeding, black and blue”. Psalm 88 (New Oxford Bible and The Message)
In those frantic days with the rapid advance of a brain tumor that took the life of my husband, I found the inner strength I needed every day to deal with this crisis within the Psalms. The Psalmist spoke the words my heart was experiencing. He articulated my pain, tears and cries for help, both before death and later as I grieved my loss.
Hope – Hopelessness
There were so many times when I felt as though I was falling into the dark abyss – a bottomless pit with no hope – only continual sorrow. My world was disintegrating, unraveling bit by bit before my eyes and there were no promises for a bright tomorrow. I, too, felt black and blue and was shouting to God for help.
In my book, “A Love so Great, a Grief so Deep”, I described hope as a “double-edged sword”. I met people who would share stories about others they knew who had the same diagnoses as my husband and were living far beyond their original prognosis. It stirred a powerful hope within me that my husband, too, would have more time – more months and years to live. But when the symptoms could not be ignored, I was thrust again into the frigid water of stark reality where hope was shattered.
Perhaps you, too, have experienced what seems like a double-edged sword, where hope became a strong conviction, an expectation and anticipation only to be dashed leaving you in the grips of despair.
Hope is the wish that something good can happen, is possible and will happen. Hope energizes. Without it, we become depressed and lack the will and motivation to keep trying. Hopelessness is the result of believing we no longer have any choices. We give up and become a victim. In the midst of personal tragedy, when we feel powerless, the tenants of hopelessness can quickly settle in.
Hope is the lifeline we grab hold of and hang onto with all our strength and will. When it seems we have little or no control over events, it is the belief that we not only can weather this storm but will be okay in the end that sustains us. The promise of a better tomorrow or another opportunity keeps us afloat when we feel we are sinking in an ocean of regret or despair.
While we are capable of many things, if our hope is placed solely in our own abilities or in a shallow and imperfect world, I believe we will continue to experience hopelessness. But when our hope and trust is placed in a loving and caring God, we will not only receive the hope, strength and fortitude we need to persevere, but will experience peace as well.
We want to live happy and fulfilled lives. We want to believe there is predictability, an end to sorrow and the possibility of a new tomorrow. And even in death, we want to know we can let go of our loved ones, and believe we will not only survive but will be able to create a new life.
“. . . but they who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31