Deep hope


I sit down to write this just having returned from the hospital where I spent some time with a precious family who are walking courageously through the most profound difficulty.  Jason, a husband, son and father of two young boys was taken off of life support today following a 17 day battle for his life in intensive care after a terrible car accident.  Jason attended the high school youth group I used to lead and I had the privilege of officiating at his wedding.  More poignantly, Jason's mother was the woman who gave all three of my children their first bath as the lead nurse in the nursery at Cottage Hospital where they were all born.  She stood beside me as I welcomed all three of my children into the world.  Today, I stood beside her as she prepared to say goodbye to one of her's. 

People assume that we ministers and preachers have the right words to say for moments like these.  But, what can possibly be said?  Tearful hugs and desperate prayers were about all that could flow out of me today.  Even still, as I stood with this family, I was reminded of hope.   Deep hope, the kind that death and grief and loss and fear are powerless to conquer.   Until you stare death in the face, I don't suppose you truly know the full reality of Hope.  Hope that even in the darkest moment, God will be given glory by his mighty works.  Hope because Christ has conquered death and therefore, so will we.

As I left the hospital today, my fervant and hopeful prayers continued to be extended on behalf of Jason and his family.  I firmly believe in and and have experienced in many ways the power of the breaking in of the Kingdom of God, a power that is more than sufficient to mend Jason and heal him.  I pray with hope knowing God can and does do things like this.  Still, I recognize that hope also has a powerful escatological quality.  Even in death, victory and truimph belong to us as a result of what Christ has done.  In the midst of a pain that is deeply wrenching, I am recognizing the flow of an even deeper hope.  A hope that will not be conquered and cannot be denied.  For Jason, and for his family I am praying the words of Romans 15: "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."  In the deep pain that so often fills the human experience, may we all be radically connected to an even deeper hope.