I have been reflecting a lot this week on one of my favorite promises from God, Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
A few years ago I was thrown into a period of hopelessness. A place of despair so deep that I could not see any reason to hope for anything. My dreams smashed beyond anything I could have ever imagine. I know that sometimes our dreams and hopes and expectations are broken or changed or even disappointing but to me, mine were obliterated with such a violent force it felt physical in my heart. Does that make sense? It was a time on my knees, pleading with God just to let it all end.
I spoke to my counselor and told him I had no more hope. I had nothing inside of me…empty. It is a horrible place to be. He told me, “Then that is where we begin.” He told me that I needed to focus and believe in God’s promises; that I needed to learn how to hope for hope. I went home and looked up all the verses in my Bible’s concordance on HOPE. Studying, praying, trusting, believing… I had to come to a place in my heart that trusted and believed that God would not leave me in this desolate place. Most did not know my pain as I was very good at hiding it. Only those closest to me knew I wanted to fall off the face of this earth.
Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The unfailing love of the Lord never ends! By his mercies we have been kept from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each day. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him!” Lamentations 3:21-24
It was a long process but each day I read these verses and slowly came to believe them. In believing them, my heart was opening up and beginning to hope again. Though I faced a contradiction… I believed and hoped in God’s plans for me but I expected very little. Again, a faith building lesson… How can I believe in His promises of “a future and a hope” when my expectations are so small.
I found myself in a place of fear; Fear to dream and hope. My heart wanted so much but my head was waging a battle against it. Do not hope for much, do not expect anything, do not trust your heart and do not set yourself up for great disappointment. As we all know, giving it to God is so difficult and trusting even harder. How can that be when he has already proven so faithful and pulled me from the pit of despair I was in? How can I not trust and hope when I look back and see the dark valley that He carried me through?
So I will placed my trust, my hopes and my fears in His hands and knew (from personal experience) that He would fill my life and my heart with the hopes He had for me. I knew those were far greater and so much more than my earthly heart could fathom. And, they were.