A couple of years ago one of my dearest friends, Kristen, walked thru our door after a meeting, guitar case in hand. She crossed to the kitchen, stood there, pensive. Something was obviously weighing on her, "Are you okay?"
She didn't look up, "Yes." I waited. Silence. "Are you sure? You seem... bothered."
She stood for a moment longer staring at the floor. "Yes, I'm fine. Disappointed, but fine." She shook her head slowly, sitting her guitar on the floor, "This happens every time."
I waited. She looked up, at me for the first time, locking her eyes piercingly on mine, "Every single time I place my hope anywhere other than the Lord, I end up disappointed." Her words struck my heart like a deafening gong, resonating with perpetual vibrations of truth.
Still I pressed, "What do you mean exactly?"
Kristen, Greek Isles, 2009
"I mean, every time I put my hope in some one or some thing believing that they'll fulfill me in some way, I end up disappointed. It might not happen immediately, but eventually I find myself analyzing the why's and how's of another broken heart. It happens every time I dare put my hope anywhere other than God. If I keep my heart safely with Him the other things can be fulfilling, immensely at times, but when I don't..." she shook her head again slumping forward onto the counter, staring off into space, again pensive.
We didn’t talk about it a lot after that, but her words have never left me. When I find myself struggling with fear, insecurity, rejection… her words find me. When I question whether or not the person I’ve confided my secrets in really is trustworthy or loyal… her words find me. When I worry I’m not really capable… her words find me. As if the gong still reverberates somewhere in the distance, I close my eyes, still my heart, and I hear it.
The past several days have been entirely bittersweet, filled with rich, divine moments and conversation, tainted with the sharpness of a provoking whisper that stirs me to the core, echoing from room to room, inescapable. The small handful of people who have arrived to surround me are the ones I trust most in all the world. Artists. Prophets. Teachers. Truth-speakers. Covenant-keepers. Pillars of belief and truth, oracles, ushering me onward, upward. To purpose. To life. To Him.
Their words, though I trust them with everything in me... cause me to tremble. A deep trembling that starts in my soul and expands to my fingertips, causes me to bury my face in my hands and weep, with secret hope, yes, but also unspeakablefear.
I. Can't. Do. This. I can't. I'm terrified. Don't you understand I'm terrified?
They do. Their eyes are filled with compassion and understanding. But they are unwavering, filled with the fire of truth, refusing to concede, refusing to give up on me. Divine mandate brought them here, keeps them here.
My trembling intensifies, realizing this is real. Could this be real? I lie awake late into the night, pleading. I stare at the ceiling before dawn. I hide behind closed doors. I wrestle. With Him. With them. I snap at them, in moments of disbelief, moments of fear. I argue. I hesitate. I doubt. I reason. I question.
But they stay. They stay near. He stays. They believe, they intercede. The look at me over and over and over with eyes that say silently again and again, this is your finest hour. This is why you were placed on this earth. Don't miss it. Don't dare miss it.
What if I believe it? What if I allow all of the doubt and fear and insecurities to melt away until only truth remains? What if I actually believe that His ways are not my ways? What then?
Suddenly it dawns on me. I've placed my hope somewhere other than God. Again. But this time, perhaps more ignorantly than any time before, I've placed it in myself. I’ve let the shadows of belief in what I can and can’t do dictate my position, my faith.
My very soul is wrought with fear. Though I know fear isn't in Him. My heart is breaking with pride and insecurity. But those aren't in Him either. I hear Him speaking soothingly as if to a child sobbing, wailing, cowering in a corner, "Look up. Look up. Shhh... I'm here. You are not alone. I know. I understand. I won't leave you. Do you understand? I won't leave you. You were never expected to do this alone. I'm not leaving."
He isn't leaving. Deep breaths. He isn't leaving. I allow the words to penetrate. I gasp sharply for air, still trembling, but a glowing warmth begins to replace the tremble...hope. Hope, this time, in the right place. Hope, this time, in Him.
We. Can. Do this. We can. We must. I don’t believe just yet that I can do this, but He can. And I can do it with Him, I think. I hope. And the thing I know about hope when it’s placed where it’s supposed to be, is that it’s unrelenting. Unyielding. Given the chance, all-consuming, morphing into something more substantial, something empowering, something that has the power to change hearts and lives, for eternity.
We cannot believe that our lives are small. We cannot buy into the lie that we carry no purpose, have no voice. Rise up. Believe. Call in reinforcements, intercessors, believers. The hour is now. Don't believe your life is small. You are the voice of thousands who cannot speak for themselves. You are the hand of hope in places where there is none. You are love and healing and power to those who need it most. Don't believe your life is small. That's a lie. Your purpose is great, your time is now, your voice is desperately needed. Your life, your purpose, is bigger than you. Much, much bigger than you can even imagine. Believe it, it's truth.