I’ve never lost hope down some rabbit hole.
Honestly? I’ve lost hope looking into reflections in mirrors.
I’ve lost hope looking straight into my own eyes and feeling like there’s no way out of your own skin, out of your past, out of your own tattered story, no way to rip out the smeared and ugly pages of your one story.
I thought I lost hope when life tore a hole in my back pocket of my heart, and my creased and worn-out hope fell out when the bottom of things fell out — you know:
when the door clicked close for the last time. When that email landed and kicked hard right in the gut. When the doctor shook his head slow and the room kinda spun, when too many mattering things felt impossibly wrecked, and it’s your life that can feel sorta totalled, and how do you keep going on hoping — when it’s the important parts of your life that are write offs?
But who knew that folded and creased Hope unfolds into wings?
Turns out: You can think you’ve lost hope, or you can try to shield yourself from it, abandon it, mock it, guard against it or try to trash it.
But hope is a rising thing and flies to you.
No matter where you are — in the unknown and unfamiliar — Hope is like a homing pigeon that knows how to find its way back home to you.
Because Hope has an inner map and will always wing its way back to you.
You may feel like you’ve lost hope — but Hope never loses track of you.
Hope is always coming home to you.
I’ve lit the first Advent candle, Hope, and I’ve looked long at its reflection in windows and saw myself in the pane:
When you feel like you’ve lost hope — the question to ask is, “But where could my hope go?”
Hope in things, and you can lose Hope.
Hope in plans, in expectations, in dreams, in outcomes, in jobs, in bank accounts, in medicine, in people, in timelines, and you can lose Hope. Any of those things can wander off, fall through, disappear, taking your Hope with it.
We’re not meant to find hope in anything in this world, we are meant to lose hope in all the things here.
We don’t hope in anything of this world — we hope in God.
Hope in Jesus and your Hope goes wherever you go, because Jesus goes with you.
When you’re going through dark days, keep on going, because Jesus goes with you and He is your Hope, going through whatever you’re going through.
Hope only seems lost — when you can’t find a way forward.
You don’t need to know the way forward, because Hope has a map, and Hope has a name, and His name is Jesus — and Jesus is The Way and when He is your way, there is always a way forward.
And I touch the window pane, touch reflection of face and Advent flame, touch all kinds of pain — and maybe that’s what I feel, how I’m found, how Hope is found … and I can feel Hope’s returning:
Hope is the one constant, because Jesus is constantly with you.
And Jesus knows turns you never heard of, makes roads you wouldn’t have dreamed of, makes miracles happen exactly where you never would have imagined.
There is a reason He is called The Way.
And I whisper the three words that breakthrough the darkest days of the year: Hope in God
**** **** ****
Jesus came down — and a bit of heaven can begin now, even here. With every step, we are walking into our forever now.
Come let Jesus touch your wounds & heal your hurt with His HOPE.
This Advent, Stay in the Story that the rest of your year, your family, will need.
The Greatest Gift (adult edition): Best Devotional of the Year, ECPA, 2014
Unwrapping the Greatest Gift (Family Edition): Best Inspirational Book of the Year, CBA, 2016
The Wonder of the Greatest Gift: Best Devotional & Gift Book of the Year, CBA, 2019