Music ministers to me. It always has. As a new believer in Christ, in my late teens, the Lord would give me a song that would teach me, lead me or enlighten me to His ways pretty much every day. During the busy, busy parenting and homeschooling years, I kind of lost that gift for a while. But even in the busyness of raising five children, the Lord still spoke to my heart most audibly through songs based on His Word.
For the past few weeks I have awakened with a song by Lauren Daigle in my mind, singing loudly to my wounded heart, bringing me much-needed peace, hope and courage. The song is called O’ Lord, and the line I wake up hearing is – “I will stand my ground where hope can be found”.
This is a declaration; a declaration of hope. A determined stance that declares I will continue to hope, no matter the circumstances. By the grace of God, this is my declaration. I am determined to hope in Christ in spite of the sorrow, the heaviness, the frustrating hopelessness of my life ever going back to what it was – what I would like it to be again. I will hope in Him.
As I was pondering the line in this song that encourages me to hold fast, I remembered something my older brother spoke to me a year or so after our son passed away. He said he felt like he wasn’t doing anything to help my husband and I in this awful grieving the loss of our son, his nephew, whom he loved dearly. I remember him saying that he could “only pray”, which I assured him was all there was, and is, to do. What he said to me next was what came to mind as I was meditating on this line of declaration in this song. He told me he saw himself, as it were, standing above my husband and I who were kneeling on the ground, weeping; he was holding his arms up, with a sword in one hand, praying to our Heavenly Father for us. He stood ground, protecting us, as we could not, lifting us up to God, beseeching Him to comfort His children.
What hope, courage and comfort this gave me, and still gives me today as I recall the image of him standing ground for us.
Hope is an amazing thing. A gift from God. It is not the wishy-washy term we think of it as sometimes – “I hope my basketball team wins tonight”; “I hope we have pizza for dinner”; “I hope my boyfriend calls me back”.
The Bible calls hope in God an anchor for our souls.
My middle son, the one we lost 3 years ago, was a sailor in the US Navy. So my family has an affinity for anchors and all things having to do with the sea, aircraft carriers or sailors.
Actually, I have always loved anchors and sailor suits.
This is me holding our sailor son, dressed in a sailor suit, at my sister’s wedding. Our son was 6 months old here.
Hope in God is an anchor for our souls.
When I was a younger, less battle-scarred Christian, I think I thought of my hope in God as an anchor that held me in place here on the earth, and kept me from being, as Ephesians 4:14 says, “tossed about like a ship that the waves carry one way and then another.”
And I believe that is part of what is meant by the verse in Hebrews that I have referenced a few times above.
As this walk through grieving the loss of one of my children goes on and on and on, though, my faith and sight have changed along with it. Verses I’ve known by heart for decades have a new and deeper (I believe) meaning for me.
This passage, and many others about hope, mean something different to me now after suffering such a tragic loss. In fact, I didn’t think much about hope at all before my son was killed in a horrible car accident. I believed in God and tried to obey His word by loving Him and loving others and thought I was doing pretty well to do that. Because I believed and loved I didn’t feel much need for hope.
1 Corinthians 13:13 tells us “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Because of this verse in Corinthians and the passage in Hebrews 11:6 that says – “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”, I have always focused on love and faith, but never thought much about hope.
Now it seems, “how could I ever have thought I could have faith without hope?”. “….. faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1.
I believe, now, that hope is probably one of the foundations of my faith. If you cannot please God without faith, and faith is the assurance of things hoped for, how can we possibly have faith and please God without hope?
I remember my husband, just days after our son passed away, saying, “This better be real. It better be real.” “This” being our faith in God; our belief that our son is in heaven and that we will be reunited with him when we pass away.
This is our hope, and our faith – that it is real. That God really does say what He means and mean what He says. That if we place our hope and faith in Him, we will be saved for eternity, living forever in His presence and the presence of all who also put their hope and faith in Him.
Hope is not only the anchor that steadily and firmly holds me and prevents me from being tossed to and fro. Hope is the anchor that holds fast my faith that connects me with God and heaven; that tells me all is well, God is in control, and I, too, will be with Him when my days are done.
” … Grief starts with something brutal and ends with something beautiful: Heaven. Not only will you become stronger as you continue to fight your way through the process, but you are moving toward the sunrise. The Son of righteousness will one day arise, with healing in his wings. It should encourage you considerably to remember that there is an end in sight — and no, the light at the end of the tunnel is not a train. This trial will not last forever. Paul said if we have hope only for this life we are of all men most likely to be pitied — but we have hope for the next life (1 Corinthians 15:19). We will be reunited with those who have sailed before us to the distant shores of paradise. The hurting will end forever. Jesus will fully and finally turn off the dark once and for all.”
~Levi Lusko, Through the Eyes of a Lion\