Sunday, October 21, 2007

On Hope & Grace

"Hope is for the people who have not yet found grace."

This is the quote I left you to ponder on a few weeks ago. I've put a lot of thought into it since then. I'm not quite sure why, but it really wiggled itself into my brain and embedded itself there. It's one of those things that can be looked at from many different angles, and here are my many thoughts on it at present.

Hope, according to, means, "the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best". To me, hope is the thing that drives us forward, pushing us on in life. Without hope, why would we keep on running? Without hope, how could we keep moving forward even when things are difficult? If not for hope, wouldn't we just give up? Whether it is hope in God or hope that we'll get that promotion, or hope that our loved one battling an illness will get the needed cure... hope is what keeps us looking to that goal. When the hope is gone, so is the drive and the vision.

The past year has been, for me, hell on earth. I've lost so much. I've been broken so many times. I feel as though what thin shreds of hope I had and was hanging on to with my little fingers have been snapped and forcefully yanked from my existence. I've experienced death in ways I had not yet experienced. Not only in the death of a dear loved one, but also in the death of a dream. With these deaths I feel as though I've experienced yet another death... and that is of whatever hope and innocence I had left. There's nothing like watching someone you love gasp her last breaths to hit you upside the head with real life. It's hard to believe the world is an alright place after that. And after having to die to a dream, it's impossible to keep your naivety.

Almost two years ago, I wrote about what I thought was a loss of something dear to me. It's so hard for me now to read that and see just how naive to the world I was. Are you kidding me? I cried over a house? A house? Two years can really change a person. I've grown so much since then and so much has changed. In some ways, good and in other ways, bad. Either way, I'm not the same person at all. Dreams have died, people have died, hope has died, and along with them some of me has died. I'd like to think that part of that death is not only my naivety but also some of my insensitivity and some of my immaturity. I look at things differently now. I don't debate until I'm blue in the face anymore. I try to walk a mile in someone's shoes instead of just speaking to them in Christianese.

I'd like to say that my faith has grown, but in reality some of it has died too. Not all of it. There's still plenty to keep me going on, but it's not the same. I don't look at the church the same, nor do I look at God in the same way. I've been hit with the harsh reality that His knowledge and sovereignty far surpass my dreams and desires and hope. Even when you know His way is best, sometimes it still hurts.

In many ways, hope to me has become a pain in the neck. I've been saying for the past year that the higher your hopes, the more they hurt when they come crashing down on you. It seems like it would be easier to not hope at all. But without hope, we would cease to move. Or at least *I* would cease to move. And unless we're moving, we won't reach our destination. What is that destination, you ask? For me and I'm sure for many of you as well, it has always been grace. Just as I see hope as the thing that drives us forward, I see grace as the thing we're moving towards. The resting place where we can hang our hats and find something else we hope for - peace. I believe it is impossible to find peace if you're not in grace ("grace" here meaning God's freely given grace and favor). So I guess this is why that quote hit me so deeply. I've been hoping and hoping and not finding what I want... but what I want apparently isn't what I need. My hope was misplaced, and has been dying a slow and painful death. What is left is me, bare and broken, on this road supposedly moving towards my destination via a very painful detour.

His grace is sufficient, but I've been so caught up in hope that I've failed to rest in that fact. If I can just find that grace and rest in it, the little-left hope, which can be wishy-washy and uncertain, will turn into something much more steadfast. Faith. While hope is just that... hope... "I hope for such and such", I see faith as a firm belief. You don't just hope for it to be, you know it will. And if I'm in grace, my will aligned with His, then my faith will be true and aimed where it should. Not where I might want it to be, but where He wants it to be... and I'll know that even though this world is harsh and kills my hopes and dreams... my faith will never fail me because it is in Him.

The hope drives me towards grace. In that grace I can rest and find peace in the One who never fails me. Realizing this and standing on it is faith. So for me (and the Prison Break dude, perhaps) hope is for the people who have not yet found grace... because once you find His grace, it's all you really need.


Heidi @ GGIP said...

"Even when you know His way is best, sometimes it still hurts."

I can definitely relate to that right now.

Great post. It was an interesting quote to ponder and I'm glad you did.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post Crystal. You write so beautifully, I love to read your writings.

Chris the Crazy Conservative said...

Wow! That's about all I can say about this post, other than it probably shouldn't be tagged with "mindless musings." Something more like "deep insight" would be far more appropriate.
I know so many people that could benefit from the insight into hope and grace and walking with God in this life that you share in this post. I hope that somehow, it reaches far beyond your regular readers.

Fresh Brewed Faith said...

I also want to add my WOW to that. It seems to be that you have been on an amazing journey of "working out your faith with fear & trembling". I understand how misplaced hope can be such a disapointment. I don't think God would ever chastise us for misplaced hope but he gently redirects our hearts to a place that He can just pour Himself out upon us.

I'm sorry for you pains and your slow deaths no matter how necessary it still hurts. But thanksfully we have a wonderful healer who applies His healing balm to our open wounds and tender hearts.

Thanks so much for visiting me - I have really enjoyed your blog.

No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame PS 25:3

Heidi @ GGIP said...

Hey, how are your preparations coming for your upcoming events?

Jeanie said...

I don't know what to say, Crystal. I am a realist when it comes to my own life but very hopeful for others -- including you. :o)

Kim said...

Crystal - your writing continues to help me delve deeper into my own issues and faith. I'm so sorry for all your pain in the last year - and I agree, even when we know in our heads that God is sovereign and His plan is best, being crucified with Him is painful.

I look forward to seeing what God will do in your life - because surely He is preparing you to do great things.

I will continue to pray for you!

Stacy said...

You've given me a lot to think about with that post. I agree with the thought of how much your point of view has changed in a few years- I've noticed the same thing when I go back and read my old journals.
I'm sorry for all of the hurts you've had in the past year. You and Dustin are frequently in my prayers.

Kristen said...

I found your blog through Sandy and am so glad. You are a wonderful writer! It is so important for women of faith to recognize and not be afraid to show that we don't understand everything that God does, we will never and yet that is ok. It is part of our walk and our growth with the Lord! I am so glad to have found your blog! I too have experienced some things that really turned my life upside down, but I know that they all helped me to grow stronger in Christ once I turned control over to him. Not saying that I don't get tangled in a dangerous game of tug of war sometimes, but I can see how I have grown as a result! Again, beautiful!

Crystal said...

Thanks for all the comments and as always, for the prayers as well. :) I appreciate all of you!

Heidi - they're, umm, going. Short version: I'm going crazy! LOL

This Very Moment said...

I leave with you few lines:

Put them all together and you will have your answer in words.. But when they sink into you that will be freedom... & Grace. Not Grace as a destination but Grace as the journey, the traveler, the road & the experience itself.

It is the Journey that brings happiness, Not the Destination (Peaceful Warrior)

Prepare for the worst, Hope for the best.

Expectations (&Hopes too) are the end of all Joy - Sri Sri

Faith is realizing 'you always get' what you need. Faith is giving the Divine a chance to act. - Sri Sri

Be the moment. That is all you have. Surrender & Smile :)