“Well, he’s leaving”, she breathed into the phone. “Everything will be finalized next week.”
My friend’s 15 year marriage had just broken up, leaving her feeling confused, helpless and empty. Her husband had had an affair with another woman and despite her efforts to save her marriage, it had all but fizzled away. Here she was - a woman who had so much going for her - yet now, without her husband, she felt absolutely lost.
She was desperate and needed more than simply pat answers. She needed to know that despite her circumstances, despite all the inner turmoil she had gone through, she could still go on. She needed to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. She needed to know there is hope.
Hope. It’s a small word in our English language yet it seems to be peculiarly absent in today’s society. We often think of hope as simply wishful thinking, yet the Bible defines it as much more than that. Hope, in reality is confident expectation – in the positive sense. Yet we don’t have to look very far before we realize that people everywhere, no matter what their background or culture, have lost hope.
Hope is the missing ingredient in life, especially when we go through a loss - whether it is in a marriage or a job or even in a loved one’s death. These losses in life tend to leave us paralyzed, leading us to the belief that we can’t go on. Adding to this is the belief that there’s no one anywhere that can identify with the emptiness we are experiencing. Even when others have gone down the same road, the pain of that loss feels like it belongs to you and you alone.
For this reason, real comfort can’t possibly come from just those who have been there themselves. No, real comfort can only come where there’s real hope – a confident expectation that life can go on and can be good. However, this kind of hope is not just found anywhere. This kind of hope finds its source only in God.
To have this kind of hope, it only stands to reason that we need to know the One who gives it. This is something the Apostle Paul found to be true. Despite all the trying circumstances he went through – including that of being shipwrecked, imprisoned, beaten and left for dead – Paul could say with confidence that God was the God of all hope and comfort. He is the one able to comfort those who are in any kind of trouble (II Cor 1:3).
That is good news for anyone who has ever experienced trouble in this life, and really, who hasn’t? So we have a promise from God Himself that He will be the One to comfort us if we only will choose to come to Him through the person of His Son, Jesus Christ.
So as I spoke words of comfort to my friend, the hope that is only found in God began to fill the emptiness in her heart. She is valuable and has so much going for her. And most of all, she can go on with her life for she is in the hands of a truly remarkable God. Yes, she can have hope. And yes, we all can have this same hope. All we need to do is draw near to its only real source.