You know, Lord, sometimes I just don't understand how it is that You can still look on some of us, myself included, with hope. Especially in those times when we look least likely to ever be anything that You could look on with pride.
Love- now that, I understand. As a parent, I can completely understand how a Father can look upon His children through all the sin and shame of a thirty year old, yet still see the bright eyes and wide smile of the four year old that child used to be. How He can bear the years without hearing His child's voice, yet still remember the sweet "I love you" that used to be spoken so often in their high-pitched squeal.
But I'm afraid that most of the time, we humans allow hope to die long before the breathing stops. We get burned by the actions of others, the repeated let-downs, the forgotten promises, and the misused chances. We become so frustrated with people that we see as continual failures, with on-going personal problems or long-term addictions, and who just seem to keep allowing their lives to waste away. It doesn't matter if they're strangers, friends or family. There just seems to be a certain limit that we project onto others. For some people, that limit may be almost non-existent; we judge them from them moment we lay eyes on them. For some, the limit in our hearts may be set at three chances, five chances, or ten.
So how do You do it, Lord? How can you see the soul in rehab for the sixth time, the wife enduring abuse at the hands of a live-in boyfriend for the third straight year, or the husband checking into a motel with yet another lady who's not his wife and still hold such hope in Your heart? How can You endure seeing professed Christians leave the church doors on Sunday afternoon only to drive straight to the nearest bar, view the father sitting with his family on the third pew shouting obscenities at his children on Monday afternoon, or the preacher who smiles at his wife during services go home to the dreary, silent prison their home has become and still see the life that You designed them for being in any way feasible?
I guess one of the reasons why we can't see things the way You do is because we are looking with our own infallible eyes when we should be striving to always look at the world through Yours. We are generally unable to view sand in an oyster and see the pearl that it could become. Even those of us who have been through a wondrous change within our own lives are too often unable to see the possibilities in others.
Quite honestly, we're sometimes unable to see any reason within ourselves for hope. It doesn't matter if others agree with our assessments of ourselves or not. If we have been told by others at any time in our lives that we are hopeless, or have committed such iniquities as we have seen others condemned for, then we will often condemn ourselves before we even give others the chance to do so. Low self-esteem, feeling worthless or unlovable is a contagion that many of us fall under at times, and that others battle with chronically.
And I suppose it's also because the love that You bestow upon us all is one that we cannot even comprehend the depths nor vastness of.
Try as we may and despite the best of intentions, the love we choose to share with others can only be equal to the amount of love that we accept from You. Not just hear of, talk about, or condition ourselves to wear like an old coat. I'm talking about that love that we just can't get away from, that follows us day in and day out, that reminds us in great and small ways how wonderful that You have been to us. Your love that brings along with it the grace, mercy, peace and understanding that we could not have possibly found anywhere else but within the walls of Your heart. That love that found us in our own hopeless state, yet still was deep enough to drown in. Only when we fully accept this perfect love, breathe it into ourselves and live on it every day of our lives, can we ever offer it to anyone else.
Oh Lord, help us to remember that Your hope is everlasting, and that there is not a soul still walking this earth for whom Your hope has completely vanished. Including ourselves. Thank You, Lord, for being the God that You are. For being the creator, regenerator and water-shed of hope. May we always return to You when our hope is gone.
I Love You, Lord.