October 12, 2009
Cartwheels in Heaven
"But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love." Psalm 33:18 (NIV)
Something was missing. I tried to write, but no words came. I tried to focus, but my attention wandered. I tried to pray, but words were few.
I finally realized what was missing: hope.
My sweet sister has been fighting a battle with Multiple Sclerosis for twelve years. Each day brings new difficulties, new hurts, new medicines, and new reasons to lose hope. As I watched her struggle day after day, my heartbreak became overwhelming, and I had lost sight of any reason to be hopeful.
One day recently as I chatted with my sister, she told me about a dream she had the night before. In this dream, she was running, doing cartwheels, and playing rambunctiously with her children. She said the dream seemed to last for hours, and she vividly remembered laughing and feeling happy.
Then she woke up. To reality. A reality where she can barely walk, much less run. A reality where carefree romping and playing is nothing more than a memory. A reality filled with pain, disappointment and a lack of hope. She awoke and cried.
I've prayed for her healing so many times that I've wondered if God is tired of hearing it. I've pleaded with Him to give her comfort and peace. I've pressured Him for discernment and a glimpse of His plan so I can understand her plight.
I've found myself wondering if hope is realistic when a situation appears hopeless? Is physical healing possible, when all odds seem against it? Is comfort and freedom from pain attainable, when every cell inside a body is raging a war against itself? Is peace actually available for those who find no end to the hurting?
In my quest to find an answer, I looked up the definition of hope: The feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best; to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence; to feel that something desired may happen. And the last definition said this, to continue to hope, although the outlook does not warrant it.
As I pondered that, my spirit leapt. This was the meaning God wanted me to understand today.
Thinking back on the prior week, I could see how God had filled my days with gentle, subtle reminders of hope through verses, emails, and devotions. He had heard the cries of my heart. I felt His Spirit leading me to a place of truly believing in the hope that only He can offer, even when the earthly outlook does not warrant it.
He had been sweetly nudging me to seek hope in Him. To allow His reassurance to saturate my heart, and fill that empty, dry space. I was reminded that hope is as essential for survival as food and water. Hope is life-giving.
My sister's 10 year-old daughter responded to her dream that morning. She told mommy not to be sad, because one day they could do cartwheels in heaven together. Upon hearing this, I felt hot tears and caught a glimpse of unfailing, eternal hope—right out of the mouths of babes.
Whether any of us do cartwheels on earth, or in heaven, is God's decision. But hope begins in believing that He was, is, and will forever be the source of our hope.
Sweet Jesus, forgive me for losing sight of where true hope is found. Infuse my heart and mind with the hope that can only be found in You. Please quench my thirst for understanding with reassurance of Your faithfulness. I ask that You guard my heart from the temptation to focus on the problem, instead of the One who holds everything in His hands. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
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Hope in the Midst of Depression: How to Embrace Life Again by Mary Southerland
Believe that all things are possible with God.
Have I lost hope?
Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (KJV)
Psalm 62:5, "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him." (NIV)
© 2009 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.
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