I think one of the most destructive emotions a caregiver can have is hopelessness. If there is no hope, why do we do what we do? And hopelessness is contagious. When we’re defeated and full of despair, our words and actions can be discouraging to everyone around us.
Advent is supposed to be a time of preparing our hearts for the greatest source of hope – a Savior who came to show us The Way to live in peace, love, joy and abundance. Yet I find as the year winds down, I’m so tempted to succumb to hopelessness.
- I was hoping Mary Addison would be free of seizures, but she’s not.
- I had hoped to lose weight in 2016, but I didn’t.
- I had hoped that I could start working again, but we still don’t have reliable support.
- I had hoped this would be the year that my husband and I went on an overnight together, but again, no support.
You get the picture. But years ago, someone gave me the gift of unshakable hope. Yes, they gave it to me as a gift! The right words, at the right time, from the right person who had the love and courage to say this to me, “You are hoping for a lot of miracles – healing for your daughter, love and peace in your family, financial security, patience and courage, and so much more. Where does your hope come from – the doctors? Your husband? Money? A pill? They’ll all let you down. Put your hope in God alone.”
I’d heard that before, but what does it actually mean to put your hope in God alone? Stop hoping for healing? Stop hoping for security? Stop hoping for peace? Yes, because in God, all those things already exist!
We keep asking God to come into our world (built from man’s willful ego), on our terms and give us what we think we want. On the other hand, He keeps inviting us to step into His Kingdom (built from love) where His will is done on His generous and merciful terms. When we live from this Kingdom perspective, from a place of love and trust – we can be with a loved one who is struggling and not be hopeless. We can watch our plans fall apart but have peace. We can serve with limitless patience and joy. Our hope is in the fact that God’s perfect and good will is being done regardless of what it looks like from an earthly perspective.
Isn’t that what Jesus came to show us? It might look like an incurable disease, but it’s not. It might look like there’s no food for the crowd, but there’s plenty. It might look like a lake, but I can walk on it. It might look like the end of life, but it’s not! You can live from a place where nothing is impossible. Now that’s hope!
I know it’s not easy to be hopeful in the face of the things many of us are dealing with, but I have found that when my hope is in God alone, I have an anchor (Hebrews 6:17-19) that will hold firm through any of life’s storms – including end-of-the-year hopelessness!
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:5