She asked us to write down our heavy.
…bring the burden from the dark into the light.
It shouldn’t be so hard. So why this lump in my throat? I know the particular battle I have been facing. Have even named it. But when I write down those words— tie letters together in loopy lines—they loom large.
How does one find hope again?
I know all the right answers. I’ve used my concordance. The NIV has 174 verses containing the root hope.
I’ve been reading through. In turns, the verses buoy me then fill me with despair. I know what scripture says about hope. I know where my hope is. But lately…my heart doesn’t.
I need a heart change. And there’s no easy way to get that.
I write the prayer out and close my Bible study book. I pick up the other Book…pick up where I’ve left off. I’ve been reading through the Bible in a year, using one of those online plans that make sure you proceed through in a sensible order. These past weeks have found me in Isaiah.
My eyes follow the passage and then drop below to read the commentary. This has been my practice—listening first with my heart and then with my mind. This day my eyes bulge as I read the commentator notes:
Isaiah spoke by inspiration to people who had lost hope.
A whole book written for those who felt this soul-ache of hopelessness? Did they feel this heavy burden of tired? Sorrow so deep my finger can’t trace through to the beginning? Did they try and try in their own power to bring it back? And just grow even more tired?
This is how it feels to give up on hope.
My eyes are hungry for Isaiah now. What does he say to these hope-less people?
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in…
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40)
I ponder what these words mean. Savor their strength. Grasp for it…search for a small kindling of hope.
I read on.
I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants.
They will spring up like grass in a meadow,
like poplar trees by flowing streams.
One will say, “I belong to the Lord”;
another will call himself by the name of Jacob;
still another will write on his hand, “The Lord’s”,
and will take the name Israel.
So I do it. I write it on my hand.
Then I fix breakfast for the boys, pack their lunches and take them to school. I run six miles and come home to walk Lucy Mae another. I take a shower and run to Charleston. I shop four hours for the perfect bookshelf that I never find. But I do find a suitcase I desperately need for an upcoming trip. I get caught in traffic on the way home. I vacuum the entire downstairs and mop the kitchen floor. I do three loads of laundry. I check over Jeffrey’s math homework and help him identify five news items each for local, regional, and world news.
At dinner, I remember.
And I look down at my hand.
The words are gone. They’ve slipped away. Somewhere between dirty mop water and a pile of clean underwear, I think. And I feel my heart sink.
Not because the words I have written on my hand have disappeared, but because I know that I must write them on my heart. And not giving them a thought all day…where IS my heart?
I only wish that if I wrote it over and over, like a naughty school child doing lines on the blackboard, that it would be true.
My hope is in the Lord.
My hope is in the Lord.
My hope is in the Lord…
I know that busy takes my eyes off of Him. I struggle. Life gets to me sometimes. I am praying forgiveness and hope this week, my friends. Will you please pray them too? And maybe for some of that strength that flies on wings like eagles?
Yes. That would be nice.
Thank you, sweet friends.
I am waiting.
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
He rises to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him! (Isaiah 30:18)