When we lose hope

In the midst of our shame and self-contempt, as we undergo correction and consequences from the hand of God, we can lose sight of the big picture. All we feel is the awesome power of this God we have offended, sinned against. We forget about Jesus as we're swept up in the thunder of His voice and His majesty and sovereignty. Like the child on the lap, receiving instruction, we're afraid of what comes next. What if God allows the worst to come to pass? Sure, we know we're going to heaven in spite of all our wretchedness, but what if He turns His face? We read all about this throughout the Old Testament, and in our isolation and desperation, we forget to trust His goodness and forget all about Grace.
The Lord has swallowed up without mercy...He has bent His bow like an enemy...the Lord determined to lay to ruins the daughter of Zion. My eyes are spent with weeping, my stomach churns. My bile pours out onto the ground. All who pass along the way clap their hands at you: they hiss and wag their heads at the daughter of Jerusalem. You summoned as if to a festival day my terrors on every side. You have made my teeth grind on gravel, made me cower in ashes; my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is, my endurance has perished. So has my hope from the Lord. (from Lamentations 2 and 3)
I have been in the place of hopelessness. I understand what it means to look at the graveyard of your broken dreams and wonder why God allowed them to be crushed, spit upon, hissed at. I have felt as though my sin is written like a scarlet letter on my forehead for all to see. I was the scorned daughter of Jerusalem, that one person He just couldn't love. Where is God in the midst of our sorrow and suffering? Where is He when we feel so alone that the world feels like a hollow echoing canyon of our grief?

The truth comes, fresh and miraculous and beautiful and wonderful, in the next verse.
But this I CALL to mind, and therefore I have hope: the steadfast love of the Lord never ends, and his mercies are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:21-22)
It is the paradox of God as perfect Judge and perfect Redeemer that many never reconcile. It is too big for our small human brains. So used to experiencing one emotion at a time - or at best, ambivalence, the combination of two conflicting emotions locking horns in our souls that leaves us confused and befuddled.

It is the love song that follows the correction, the joy that accompanies reconciliation. It slowly dawned on me that He allows things so that His glory might be known. The fact that I have survived, and that I thrive spiritually, a tree planted by living water, through hell or highwater, through abuse and health crises and isolation and depression - this is for His glory. It is the jewel I lay at His feet, my willingness to bear the consequences of my sin without growing bitter, my willingness to stay under (my Greek word for 2011) my trials until their completion, until He shows me how He has redeemed it all from the very beginning.

Just as I am, without one plea,
but that thy blood was shed for me,
and that thou biddst me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, tho tossed about
by many a conflict,
many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Oh, I come to the Son who can heal with His wounds,
Oh, I come to the Thief who has robbed every tomb,
Oh I come to the Victor, my life and my Love, O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am thou will receive,
will welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve,
Because Thy mercy I believe
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
~an old hymn made new by Shaun Groves~

linking arms with Ann and Bonnie today: