remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.
but now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
there is a family down the hall caught in bad choices and given grace to stay though they really deserved to be escorted out into the cold dark night. i was angry enough to give the reasonable consequence. but mercy triumphed over justice and the morning will bring about goodbye instead.
i lay awake, unable to really sleep for fear of what may happen next, and for want of some means of finding a gospel ending to this situation. in my mind i think of such eloquent and Paul-sounding words to accompany my small offerings of practical things so the burden of their homelessness is eased if only a little bit.
in the morning i gather what i can find, a coat from the lost and found and a sweatshirt from the floor of my car, left-over pizza from the youth group a few nights ago and some odds and ends from the pantry. a small bible from the church office and it’s the best i can do.
but the words fail me and i hand them the offering and mumble ; “food for your stomach and food for your soul.”
the little one unaware sings and smiles at me and shows me the picture of the cat in his book. as i watch them leave all i hear in the depths of my soul is; without hope and without God in the world, in the cold and dreary world.
where is the joy to be had here Lord? it’s all just so sad and feels so very impossible that there is any hope for even a basic experience of stability and love. it’s a story that’s all too familiar.
Surely the very hardness of an enterprise, the very fact that it is what a soldier would call a “forlorn hope,” is in itself a call and a claim stronger than any put forth by something easier. The soldier does not give in because the hope is “forlorn.” It is a hope, be it ever so desperate. He volunteers for it, and win or not, he fights.
-Amy Carmichael from Things as They Are
i’m stretched thin and tired, but there seems to always remain a bit of fight left in me. a tiny glimmer about to be snuffed out but for the encouragement my Captain sends along my path in all sorts of ways. (like this, and this, and this.) it’s enough to move from battling on my feet with mumbling inadequate words* to the most effectual battling which happens on my knees in prayer.
because there is always a But God to be had, and win or not, i volunteer, i fight.
if you search the bible for the words “without” and “hope” two verses come up. the one i quoted above and this one:
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
*i get it, i know that the Spirit is the one who uses even the most fumbling of tongues. it’s just that there are these ones in my head and it’s disappointing when fear seems to win and i can’t get them out in the moment. my perspective of all that may be off, but the discouragement is real.
update: the story is still unfolding for this family, it now looks like we may all get another shot at things-at least for tonight. taking it a day at a time.