Greater Hope

I saw a star.

So what? Who hasn’t?

I saw a star and it’s light was like something woven of hope and music and the shimmer of it was a voice crying out to my spirit to keep hold, to take joy, and for a moment the whole of my suffering seemed unmade.

This Beautiful Truth by Sarah Clarkson

Stars have always been symbols of hope to me. From the first time I looked up at a mountain sky and thought I could see the whole milky way, to a year later when single star dimly shone above my small city’s lights and coastal fog. Stars make me feel small but not insignificant. They speak to me of something so much bigger than myself, Someone great enough to make these stars and yet who cares enough to let me see them. Someone who named the stars and who knows my name…

When my family moved from the mountains, I lost my stars. And that was only one small loss, my trust in Jesus was also greatly shaken in that time. Suddenly, doubts wracked my heart and the whole world seemed cold and dark. But in the midst of that, sometimes a star would stubbornly shine through the artificial lights and whisper to me a promise. Just as the stars I loved were still there, so the God I loved was still there, though I couldn’t see Him.

This week I finished reading This Beautiful Truth by Sarah Clarkson and added it to my list of favorite books. As I read this book I took hold of hope: letting it fill me and live in me, and believing in its truth. In a deeper and truer way than I could before coming face to face with darkness.

During those years darkness tested my hope and I thought it would shatter beneath it but… in the shattering of my old hope, the brokenness that broke it was broken by a greater, more glorious hope. Not a hope that depends on the absence of darkness but one that lives and breathes despite the darkness. A light that shines in the darkness, one potent enough to conquer even the devastation of dark. Love that can mend it all.

God used a hundred things and a hundred hours to graciously show me this hope, and reading This Beautiful Truth gave new words and a beautiful perspective on some of the truths God has been working in my heart.

It’s holy week. Isn’t that beautiful? Its the week to remember Jesus’s passion, death and resurrection. Its a week to proclaim HOPE. Not the “optimistic maybe” kind of hope but the living hope, the hope that is the certainty of things not seen.

On Good Friday, Jesus’ followers didn’t loose stars. Rather the whole afternoon sun went dark. I know what its like to doubt, but they knew what it was like to see their Lord beaten and spat upon, nailed to a tree and die.

Behold, My Servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted. Just as many were astonished at you, My people, so His appearance was marred more than any man and His form more than the sons of men.

Isaiah 52:13

The first part of the passage makes sense. It is right that this righteous Servant of the LORD would be high and lifted up. But then… marred more than any man?

We all know the stories… heroes never die. Right?

But this Hero did die.

And because He died, facing the whole weight of sin and brokenness on our behalf, He made a way for death to die, for sorrow to be unmade, for sinners to be made clean. He faced the darkness for us. Oh, what love.

Thus He will sprinkle many nations, Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him; for what had not been told them they will see, and what they had not heard they will understand.

Isaiah 52:15

There’s too much to say about Jesus. So much more than I could write in a thousand blog posts. There’s so much more in Good Friday than I can wrap my mind around–and that’s not even thinking about Easter! But this I know with all my heart and this I shall proclaim forever: Glory to God. Jesus saved us in the greatest act of love possible. He paid the price, bore our sin, accomplished reconciliation, resurrection and life. In Him, all is made right.

In the suffering of the Holy One our suffering is unmade.

We still suffer, yet in the midst of it we have a greater hope. A greater love. A greater joy. For we have a greater Savior.

Today I feel utterly inadequate in the best of ways. What can I say to remember Jesus’ sacrifice and love? They are too great for mere words. But they are truth. They are the truth that brought about the defeat of death, that brought about reconciliation and redemption. They are the truth that changes everything.

Let’s look to Jesus. Let’s be still and sit at His feet and read about His love for us. As Douglas Kaine McKelvey prays in Every Moment Holy, “Shape our thoughts O Lord, by your truth, even as you shape our hearts by your love.”

Have a gloriously hopeful weekend, dear readers!! Jesus loves you so, so much.

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