I don’t often write or talk about my years battling with depression. They were incredibly painful years and not much fun to talk about. Like many stories of depression, although the doctor declared my depression “over” many years ago, there is fallout from the fight that comes and goes at different times. One of those issues for me has been grasping the idea of hope.
Despite the fact that I can give you beautiful textbook answers about what hope is and point to all sorts of Scriptures that teach us about the hope we have in Christ, the whole concept seemed very elusive to me. For the last couple years, my goal has been to "sit in hope." I first heard this phrase when my counselor encouraged me to practice doing it. I could never figure out what she meant.
Early in the school year, I was having coffee with my mentor and she asked me to share a little bit about my journey through depression. I shared this phrase with her and went on a bit of rant about how I just didn’t get it. You have to understand my mentor is the poster child for “sitting in hope” and could not understand why it made no sense to me.
Then one Wednesday morning I was meeting my mentor for coffee again and sharing some stories of the past week or so with her when she interrupted and said, “You know what?! That sounds like a girl who is sitting in hope! I think you have found your elusive target.” What?! I was shocked.
Now I have no idea how I got there, but in that moment it clicked and I was completely overwhelmed by the peace that comes when we embrace hope. Perhaps I needed to move across the country where no one knew me to discover it. Perhaps I needed to be surrounded by a church staff that respected me, trust me and valued my opinion without having to prove myself. Perhaps I had to get a little better about living in the moment and not the what-ifs. I’m not entirely sure.
In a message on hope, Frederick Buechner said, “I think it is hope that lies at our hearts and hope that finally brings us all here. Hope that in spite of all the devastating evidence to the contrary, the ground we stand on is holy ground because Christ walked here and walks here still. Hope that we are known, each one of us, by name, and that out of the burning moments of our lives He will call us by our names to the lives He would have us live and the selves He would have us become. Hope that into the secret grief and pain and bewilderment of each of us and of our world He will come at last to heal and to save.”
That seemed to bring it together for me. So I continue to sit in hope and wait to see how God will continue to redeem and restore His people and His creation.