Daring to Hope When It’s Not Happy Endings: How to Sing in the Dark

This woman profoundly changed my life & may be one of my most favorite. I first met Katie Davis Majors on the front porch of her house under a blistering sun. Not five minutes into our visit her youngest snuggled into my lap with a pile of books to read, her braids beneath my chin, and my heart melted. At that time Katie was a 23-year-old single mother of thirteen daughters, and she had traded her comfortable life in Nashville for the red-dirt of Uganda. She is a woman who serves, and she lives in the rarest, real-est, and most Jesus-revolutionary way. She founded an organization that cares for hundreds of vulnerable children and their families, but what makes her radical is that she never stops testifying to the richest kind of love, the love of the Father. Katie is a person who has wrestled and found the goodness of God amidst all things, from the mountain top moments of finding love and the gift of family, to places of questioning and grief. She reminds us, we can dare to hope for big things, because we can trust in the goodness of the Giver. It’s a flat-out, laying low grace to welcome Katie to the farm’s front porch today…

guest post by Katie Davis Majors

Just one little bird. She’s up when the stillness of 5:30 am nudges me awake and I struggle to peel back heavy eyelids.

She’s up and she sings.

I wonder how she can even tell that it’s almost morning.

I walk quietly to the coffeepot and flick on just enough lights to read by so as to not wake my children.

Her song is shrill and bold. This is my quiet time, and I briefly wish that one little bird would be quiet.

As I sit down with my Bible, I think of my friends who have gone home to be with Jesus so recently.

I know where they are and that it is better, by far, than suffering and sickness. But still, I miss Betty’s smile as I wiped her forehead.

I miss Katherine’s laugh, loud and infectious. When I see her children smile, I see her, and I still wish the ending had been different.

I asked God Why? again and again. What could all this suffering possibly accomplish? Why would He allow us to love people so deeply?

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A dear friend suggested, “Maybe because He knew you would.”

Could that be God’s answer to us as we walk the hard road? “I knew you would do it. I knew you would love them.”

And suddenly the hard road becomes not a burden but a place of great honor, a place of partnership and intimacy with Him.

We were allowed by our gracious and merciful Father to love these people, to give ourselves to something so grand as ushering His beautiful children back into His arms at heaven’s gate.

Then I think that maybe courage is not at all about the absence of fear but about obedience even when we are afraid.

Maybe courage is trusting when we don’t know what is next, leaning into the hard and knowing that it will be hard, but more, God will be near.

He is the God Who Will Provide.

He will provide His presence, His strength, or what- ever He decides we most need.

Maybe bravery is just looking fear in the face and telling it that it does not win because we have known the Lord here. We have known the Lord in the long dark night.

The little bird sings loud in the early morning dark. And slowly, the sun peeks over the horizon.

Days later it is raining. The huge drops pelt our tin roof so hard that we can hardly hear ourselves talk, but as the rain slows, I make out a familiar noise and I laugh.

The same little bird that cannot contain her song too early in the morning is now singing through the rain. I wonder where she’s hiding and how she can keep singing in this storm. The rain slows to a trickle and the sun peeks from behind the clouds, and suddenly all I can hear is her glorious song.

And I want to be just like that little bird.

Hope is a crazy thing, a courageous thing. Faith is a bold, irrational choice. But that little bird—she feels the sun coming, knows with certainty that it will come, even when she can’t yet see it.

We live in a world where innocent people suffer and good friends die and stories don’t have the endings we pray for.

The pain and hurt are everywhere. But the joy and hope that we find in our Savior? They are everywhere too.

I do not have all the answers; actually, I don’t have many at all.

But this is what I know: God is who He says He is. In the hurt and the pain and the suffering, God is near, and He is good, even when the ending isn’t.

Our pain does not minimize His goodness to us but, in fact, allows us to experience it in a whole new way.

God brings to mind Mary of Bethany, who chose the greater thing by putting aside her tasks to sit at Jesus’s feet.

I always resisted putting aside the daily rhythm and necessities of life to sit in His presence, but pain forced me into desperate hours at His feet.

While I cared for my friends in their sickness, I craved that middle-of-the-night time when I would sit on the floor of my bathroom, just me and God. Night after night I would sit and imagine myself, like Mary, washing His dusty feet with my tears. It was there I heard Him whisper, “Come.” And so I kept coming.

I think of a different conversation between Mary and Jesus, four days after her brother, Lazarus, died. She had called for Jesus days earlier. We read in John, “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where he was two more days” (John 11:6). So. He loved them and so He didn’t move immediately.

“Lord,” Mary said, weeping, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21).

Her words echo my own: Where were You, Lord? Didn’t You hear that we had called for You?

And Jesus wept with Mary in her pain, even knowing that He would raise Lazarus to life again.

Jesus told His disciples that He was glad He was not there earlier so that they, too, could believe.

In my own life, He showed Himself to be a God who uses delay to grow my belief and strengthen my relationship with Him.

He loves me and SO He allows me to feel pain that draws me to Him. And in the midst of the pain, He weeps with me for a world that is not as He intended, for sorrow that He did not design.

I can sing because I know what is coming.

I can hope because I know who is coming.

In the dark of the night, I have seen His face.

I want to be brave enough to hold out the hope of the Gospel to a world that is hurting and alone and afraid.

Not a hope rooted in the absence of pain or heartache or suffering.

Not optimism that looks for the best-case scenario or happy ending.

A true hope that rises from the full assurance that our Savior is on His way.

It’s not light yet, but I know Him, the One who is the Light.

And so in the dark, I will sing.

 

 


Katie Davis Majors moved to Uganda over a decade ago with no idea that this would be the place that God chose to build her home and her family. Today, she is a wife to Benji and mama to her fourteen favorite people.  Katie is also the founder of Amazima Ministries, an organization that cares for vulnerable children and families in Uganda and the author of the New York Times bestseller Kisses from Katie.  Her highly anticipated new book is Daring to Hope: Finding God’s Goodness in the Broken and Beautiful. 

Reading Daring to Hope completely undid me and I wrote the forward to her words with my heart pounding hard: HOPE IS REAL AND OUR LIFELINE.  When Katie moved to Uganda, accidentally founded a booming organization, and later became the mother of thirteen girls through the miracle of adoption, she determined to weave her life together with the people she desired to serve. But joy often gave way to sorrow as she invested her heart fully in walking alongside people in the grip of poverty, addiction, desperation, and disease.

After unexpected tragedy shook her family, for the first time Katie began to wonder, Is God really good? Does He really love us? When she turned to Him with her questions, God spoke truth to her heart and drew her even deeper into relationship with Him.

Look, you have GOT to read Daring to Hope  — it is an invitation to cling to the God of the impossible—the God who whispers His love to us in the quiet, in the mundane, when our prayers are not answered the way we want or the miracle doesn’t come. It’s about a mother discovering the extraordinary strength it takes to be ordinary. It’s about choosing faith no matter the circumstance and about encountering God’s goodness in the least expected places. I have read every word of this one AND IT IS ONE UNFORGETTABLE, HOPE-IGNITING BOOK  THAT WILL BE A TORCH IN ANY DARK!

[ Our humble thanks to Waterbook Multnomah for their partnership in today’s devotion ]

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