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Hope Denied

Yesterday I was given two opportunities to face my many failings as a parent. Now, it’s important that you know right from the beginning that I do not say this with even an ounce of self-pity. I have lived long enough to see parenting for what it is: a challenging task that doesn’t come with an instruction manual for every possible scenario! So this is not about me. It’s about the way those failings were presented: one was wrapped in healing and the other was…well, raw.

As my daughter led a small group study yesterday, she shared a part of her life journey. As her mother, it was difficult to hear. I remembered well her utter anguish as she tried to make her way through what she refers to as her trainwreck of a life. I also remembered the powerlessness I felt to help her in any way. Some of the ways I tried to help just added more pain to what already felt near-unbearable. But there was hope–so much hope!–as she told the story of her struggle. That hope is the healing power of Jesus.

Later in the day, I got my second glimpse of the anguish of one of my children. This time there was nothing but rage. This time there was no hope in the recounting of the pain. There has been no healing. And wounds that do not heal only fester and grow, eventually becoming putrid and–worst case–lead to soul death.

Jesus came to set free those who have been taken captive by the pain of life lived, those who are bound tightly with cords of unforgiveness. Jesus stands ever ready to take the bitterness and pain from anyone who chooses to release it to Him. I am reminded this morning that we suffer nothing that Jesus has not already endured, overcome, and risen above. Gratitude for this is in itself a healing balm.

What bitterness, what unforgiveness do you need to exchange today for Hope?

Or perhaps you, too, know full well the Hope that results from Jesus’ healing power. In that case, who do you know who needs that same Hope today?

Whichever place you find yourself, doing something about it won’t necessarily be easy. Doing nothing, however, is Hope denied.


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