Mom had an expression I heard often growing up, “Hope springs eternal.” In my teen years she would remind my melancholishness that not all is lost in circumstances that seemed hopeless. She would remind me of that during my long bouts of depression that accompanied the passage from a child to an adult.
Many a night when she would come into my room to pray with me, she’d sense my blues that increased when the sun went down. They were always accompanied with fear because I was still learning that the LORD is a faithful Father and ever-present to my needs. Needs seem so monumental when you are a melancholy teenager, now I look back and chuckle. I’ve lived a lot of years since then and I’ve been through the school of hard knocks–I’ve learned what real struggle and doubt feels like.
Later in life she would remind me to hope when life threatened to crowd the joy out of my heart or when life as a mother challenged my abilities. She would remind me of that when I began to face some of the real-life challenges that everyone faces from time to time. She would often tag on the line from the psalms, “Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” Mom was a strong-willed optimist and that eventually rubbed off on me. I’m grateful for her presence in my life and especially that she modeled before me the importance of choosing hope in the LORD.
The time came though, when those were my words to her as she slowly lost her battle to live. She lived before me what I think Ralph Waldo Emerson was hoping to communicate when he penned, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” It was the hope in the LORD that filled mom with endurance and courage in the face of chronic disease. Her hope was her strength and it was eternal in the fullest sense of the word.
Mom’s words whispered to me today as I cleaned up winter from our garden today; as I brushed some decaying leaves away from the soil I saw the evidence of my Creator’s everlasting care. There beneath the refuse of the past season’s death there were the tender green shoots of our Crimean Snowdrops lifting their delicate white caps upward toward the early Spring sun–“Hello again beautiful world, I’m here again to glorify the Creator!” I saw mom in that moment, her head was raised in hope fulfilled:eternal worship of our LORD!
LORD, there are times now when I feel short on hope. Help me to see beyond the present moment that threatens to steal my joy. I look at the whole scheme of things, to the very edge of my soul, and my heart wants to respond with a “YES” to mom’s words woven into the fabric of my life. It is there in that crossover moment that I see I have a choice to make: either I will dig down deep into the wellspring of life as my eyes gaze heavenward into Hope Eternal, or I will stand ankle deep in the despair, or resentment or pride or just plain sloth that has stopped me in the tracks of doubt.
LORD, I choose hope!