“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance. O my God, my soul is cast down within me; therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan, and from the heights of Hermon, for the Hill Mizar. Deep calls to deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; all Your waves and billows have gone over me. The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me – a prayer to the God of my life. I will say to God my Rock, why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? As with a breaking of my bones, My enemies reproach me, while they say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’ Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.” Psalms 42:5-11 (NKJV)
I saw her in the hospital’s surgical waiting room. My eyes were drawn to the woman in the corner of the room, sitting alone, crying. I really wanted to go to her right then, but someone was waiting for me; someone who desired to sit with me while my husband was having surgery. This someone could only stay for a little while as work was calling for their attention. I appreciated the fact that someone loved me enough to come and sit with me so I wouldn’t have to sit alone. But still, my eyes were drawn to the woman in the corner of the room, sitting alone, crying.
The surgical waiting room was populated with plenty of comfortable chairs, sets of tables and chairs, many of which were occupied by a person waiting. Several televisions within the large space were vying for one’s attention. The noise from them was a little distracting, but then, perhaps those waiting really wanted that kind of distraction. A person could watch the news, or over there, on the other side of the room, was displayed a fitness and health program. One television had a children’s cartoon playing. Two children sat close by, quietly laughing together at what they were watching. I would have enjoyed watching the cartoon with them in an attempt to totally take my mind away from the present circumstances, if only for a few moments. Their laughter made me chuckle to myself. One man sat all alone, by the window, working diligently on a crossword puzzle. There was a family huddled together, sharing memories, laughing at pictures collected on their phones. Right in the middle of the room was a fairly large group of people, circled around two people who were standing in the middle. They were all holding hands and praying together. One young mother sat with her young boy, who couldn’t have been more than 8 or 9 years of age. She comforted her son in her arms, as he softly sobbed, asking, “Is Daddy going to be okay?” Another lady, sat reading a book, her face bearing a widening smile and then a audible chuckle; obviously responding to what she was reading. I turned around to see an older couple come into the room. The wife, fussing over her husband, telling him where to sit and that “it will be just a few moments before they call you back.” I loved the compassionate look of love that the husband gave to his wife, as he patted her hand. He gently reassured her, “You are going to be just fine as you wait. I will be in the good hands of my surgery team. We will be back together soon.” I smiled at the preciousness of that relationship. I watched as a volunteer worker came to get a young man, whose girlfriend had surgery and was coming out of the recovery area. “You can come with me sir, I will take you back to your party and together you can prepare to take her home.” All of the sudden I realized that my “party” was waiting for me. I went over to where they were sitting, hugs were exchanged. I then sat down and we started talking. But still, my eyes were drawn to the woman in the corner of the room, sitting alone, crying.
It didn’t seem like that long before a volunteer came for me. “The doctor will meet with you now and tell you how your husband’s surgery went. Would you like to follow me?” She led me to a little room, where after a few moments the doctor came to tell me the details of the surgery and to give me the assurance, “Everything went well.” Hubby was moved to recovery and I would have some more time to wait. My “party” excused themselves saying that they had to get to work. We hugged and I thanked them for the time they had spent with me, waiting together. I walked back into the main waiting area, and once again, my eyes were drawn to the woman in the corner of the room, still sitting alone, and still crying.
This time I walked right over to her, sat down in the chair beside her and placed my hand upon her shoulder. “I’m sorry to bother you, but…” I gently said to her. Without any hesitation, she welcomed me. “Oh, you are not bothering me,” she said as she wiped the tears from her eyes. I handed her another tissue and said, “I have been watching you for some time, but couldn’t come over to you until now. Do you mind if I ask – – Are you alright?”
With tear stained eyes, she looked me in the face. I couldn’t help but notice just how tired this dear lady appeared. She cleared her throat and introduced herself. I then told her my name and a little something funny about me and hospital waiting rooms. We both laughed. Instantly I felt like we had known each other forever. The conversation that pursued was precious, as two people came together in the beginnings of a new friendship. We were comrades in waiting. Both of us were waiting for our husbands to have their surgeries, spend their time in recovery and hopefully not have to wait a long time before they were sent to their rooms for the night of observation and care.
In the course of our conversation, my new friend asked me a series of questions. Prior to asking her questions, she had shared that her husband had been ill for a long time, had many surgeries and this one, well, it was “the last hope” of any help for him. My heart just ached for this dear lady as I listened to her story. No wonder she was crying. It just broke my heart that she had to sit there all alone. I wrapped my arms about her. We cried together.
After a few moments, through the tears, the questions began.
I held her in my arms, her body shaking with her sobs. As I tried to comfort this dear woman, sitting alone in the corner of the room, I began to pray. Out loud, I prayed for my new friend.
“What are you doing?” she said as our tear-stained faces met. “I’m praying to the God of all hope! I’m asking the God that I know, the God who has given me hope in many dreadful circumstances, to meet you right here in this surgical waiting room. I’m asking God to wrap His loving arms around us both and give us comfort, peace and hope for the situations we both find ourselves in. I’m asking God to be your light at the end of the tunnel, to be the One who wipes away all your tears, to be your source of hope.”
She sat silently, looking right at me, but not responding. Perhaps she was pondering over what I had said. I was hoping that I hadn’t offended her. Finally, she calmly and gently said, “No one has ever prayed for me like that before. Thank you! Is your God really the source of hope? Can you keep on praying for me?”
I started praying again, out loud, to the God I know so well, who was listening at that very moment to my heartfelt prayer. God was present in the corner of that surgical waiting room, and He brought comfort and peace to this dear lady. For the next hour, we prayed. We cried. We talked about God, about His great love, about His Son, Jesus Christ, and about hope. Together, we talked to God. There was an indescribable preciousness to that conversation. One I will never forget.
Truth of the matter is this, my dear blog reader. Every one of us are faced with difficult times when we wonder what happened to hope. We might face seasons of disappointment, bouts of depression, periods of despair, cycles of doubts and questions. These can come as a result of health issues, job loss, financial stresses, family difficulties, relationship battles, or any other major experience that life likes to throw at us.
We have all been, or will be at some point of life, in the place where we search for hope. We will be in the place where we wonder what we did wrong, or where we question the circumstances, or where we feel like the tunnel just got very dark. We find ourselves asking, “Where is God now?” or “What happened to hope?”
The Psalmist faced a time like that. In Psalms 42:6, we have recorded for us the Psalmist’s cry to God, as he searched for hope. He writes, “O my God, my soul is cast down within me.” I can assure you that God heard that cry! We aren’t told what the circumstances were; we don’t really need to know. Yet, we can relate, can we not? I know I can. I’ve been there. Many times. I’ve been in the midst of circumstances when all I could do is cry. I’ve been in the midst of troubled times when I simply didn’t know what to do next. I’ve been in the pit of despair and depression when I was certain that pit would swallow me whole. I’ve been in the tunnel when it suddenly went dark. Very dark. No glimmer of light was to be seen. There was no hope of it ever shining again. Hopelessness became my shroud. I understand what that feels like.
And yet. . .
I craved for hope! I needed hope! I had to find hope!
It is within that very moment – that moment of searching for hope – that we can turn to the God of all hope. The Psalmist said it well, in three simple words, “Hope in God!” God is the source of our hope.
You see, God meets us in the darkness of our circumstances. He knows when we feel all alone. He sees our tears. He hears our cries of anguish. He comforts us with His peace. He is the light at the end of our tunnel. He is our source of HOPE!
So, how do we tap into this source of HOPE? How can we bring HOPE into our difficult circumstances that life throws at us? I would like to suggest four things that will lead us closer to the source of HOPE:
Hang on to what you already know about God and believe that He is with you. You don’t have to know everything about God, to know that He wants to bring you hope in the midst of your difficult circumstances. God is simply waiting for you to call out to Him. He will be right there with you. In fact His promise to you is this: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5). Even if you don’t acknowledge His presence, He is there. Even if you can’t talk to Him or don’t know what to say, He is there. Even if you’ve never talked to Him before, He is there. He is there for YOU! He is your source of Hope!
Open your heart to the fact that God wants to use your present circumstances (no matter how bad you think they are) for your good and for His glory. Yes, it is true, our bad circumstances in life can actually be used for good in our life. It is through the bad, difficult, or hard times of life that we turn toward God. And that is a really good thing for us to do. It is at these times, that we can learn a lot of good lessons, like character development, dependence upon God, patience, self-control, understanding of others, forgiveness and the list goes on. We learn valuable lessons during our difficult circumstances that we could never learn any other way. We can carry these lessons with us throughout the rest of our lives, using them to help us the next time we are facing difficult circumstances. We can even use the lessons that we learn to help and encourage others who are going through the same kind of difficulty. God receives glory through our circumstances when we have a heart that seeks after Him. God receives the glory when we allow Him to do His perfect work in our heart during that time. As we open our hearts to God, during our difficult circumstances, He shows us more of who He is and what He can do. Through our open heart, God is glorified!
Pour your heart out to God often in prayer. Learn to talk to God during your difficult times. Talk with Him often. He will always be listening. While He already knows all about your needs and your circumstances, He still takes great delight in hearing from you. Every time you begin to pour your heart out to God, in blatant honesty, we open the door for God to do His perfect work in our life, in our heart, and in our circumstances. Every time you begin to pour your heart out to God, you will be reminded of His presence with you. He is there in the peace that comes to your heart. He is there in the people who come alongside you to offer assistance and help. He is there in the provisions that come your way to meet your needs. He is there in every comforting hug, in every word of encouragement, and in every prayer that is offered up on your behalf. Every time you begin to pour your heart out to God in prayer, He is there for YOU. Allow Him to embrace you with His great love. Receive His love with open arms and a welcoming heart. Embrace the light that He brings to your darkness. Hang on to the HOPE He offers you.
Expect an answer to your prayer, to your cry, to your heartache, to your search for hope. God will answer! Perhaps not always in the way, or in the manner that you might expect. But He will answer. In His perfect timing. In His perfect ways. And in His perfect means. His answer to you will be perfect, because the God who is answering is perfect. He’s a Sovereign God and He knows what He is doing on your behalf. During your difficult circumstances, you can trust Him. He knows what He is doing in and through your circumstances. And while you wait for His answer, hang on to the HOPE that He is offering you.
I saw her in the hospital’s surgical waiting room. My eyes were drawn to the woman in the corner of the room, sitting alone, crying. The God of all HOPE met her in that corner. He wiped away her tears!
Book Recommendation – –
I just finished reading an excellent book about hope that I recommend to anyone who is searching for hope in the midst of life’s difficult circumstances. It will give you lots of “food for thought” and inspire you to seek after hope until you find it.
The book is: Hunting Hope: Dig Through the Darkness to Find the Light. Written by Nika Maples. Published by Worthy Inspired.