From: Soyoung Kim
"How long, O LORD? Wilt Thou forget me forever? How long wilt Thou hide Thy face from me?" Psalm 13:1
"Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron, and said to him, 'Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.'" Exodus 32:1
"...and they stood still, looking sad." Luke 24:17
These are the words and actions of people whose hopes have been dashed. We are fortunate to have the full stories before us, to know what happens next, but they did not. I think about the Psalmist's words, "Wilt Thou forget me forever?" Forever is a very strong word. How long has he been crying out to God? Days? Months? Years? Perhaps decades and God has responded with a resounding silence. How does one get up in the mornings when, for so long, God has not answered your prayers? Neither a yes or a no, but silence.
We see evidence in these passages of what we, as humans, normally do when we find our hopes dashed. The Israelites gave up on Moses and built themselves an idol. The disciples left Jerusalem and were heading to Emmaus. It's hard to reach a point in life where you feel that God has truly abandoned you, or He isn't responding to you. Because then you begin to doubt His love. Or people tell you that you aren't praying with enough faith. Or that you are expecting too much. Most people don't seem to want to talk about when God hasn't responded because then what hope is there?
So how do we find hope when the situation or a season in life feels hopeless?
Several weeks ago, I had the immense pleasure of travelling through parts of Baja California Sur, Mexico. One of the many memorable experiences was when my 3 daughters and I went with a guide on a desert canyon hike. I chose this specific hike because there were waterfalls and who doesn't love waterfalls? Before we set out for the hike, however, our guide warned us that there hadn't been enough rain and so there would be no waterfalls. We would have simply a desert canyon hike. Our hopes were not dashed, merely deflated somewhat. Indeed, where rivers were supposed to be, we only saw dry riverbeds. With our expectations properly calibrated, we set out. As we pulled up to the starting point of our hike, lo and behold, there was water gushing down the rocks!! The water pooled on the dry ground and quickly soaked into the ground, never making it to the ocean, but nevertheless, here was water in the desert where we were told we would not find it! There were two other waterfalls further on that we climbed and eventually came to a steady stream of water. Soon, we all abandoned our shoes and socks and walked in the cooling water, even our guide. That was truly a gift (especially for me since my girls would have complained a whole lot more about how much longer if there had been no water).
Sometimes, hope is just that, a thin trickle of water, pooling at the bottom of the waterfall, disappearing from sight, unable to gush forward, waiting waiting waiting for that big rain to come to fill the dry, crumbling riverbed.
And so you sit on a rock, take a deep breath and listen carefully to the silence that surrounds you. Because even in that silence, there's a whisper that promises that one day, the rain will come. "But I have trusted in Thy lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation. I will sing to the LORD, Because He has dealt bountifully with me." Psalm 13:5,6
My lifelong dream has been to be a beach bum - I'm still hoping it will come true one day ;)