Romans 8:26-28 NIV
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
The past few months have been a challenging time. Between the pandemic and the tragic deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, I must confess, there have been moments, recently, that have been hard for me to find even a thread of hope. I typically lean into hope, but there are times in this life, I’m sure you will agree, where hope can be truly hard to find—not because it is hiding from us, but because the circumstances in which we find ourselves are all consuming. In those moments, I ask myself where can hope be found?
Earlier this week, I was listening to “Intentional” by Travis Green. Throughout the song, he repeats a refrain from Romans 8:28. He simply says, “All things are working for my good. He’s intentional—never failing.” He, as well as the Apostle Paul, reminds us that God is actively working things out for our good. God is not distant from our suffering and struggle; God is in the middle of it. Now, I want to be careful here. I don’t believe God incites the suffering, but I do believe God can work good out of it. And as Travis reminds us, “[God] is never failing.”
That’s where hope can be found! It’s in the promise that God is working to bring about the highest good even in the most broken circumstances. In Christ, we have an assurance that God is actively working on our behalf to bring about good in our lives. Oftentimes, that good looks differently than we expect. This past weekend, I witnessed it. Pastors David, Caesar and myself engaged in a conversation on the Gospel and what it has to say about racism and injustice. It was a kind of conversation that most of us rarely have. In doing so, hope emerged. Hope was found in God working through our struggle for shared understanding and meaning-making. Those conversations aren’t easy, and for some, it’s downright painful. And yet, out of hurt, God can cultivate transformed lives.
We’ve been praying for awakening, and I can’t help but think this is a part of that awakening. Out of tremendous tragedy, God is bringing about healing, even in the midst of incredible hurt. God is working things out for our good. Oh, there is so much still to be done. We’ve not arrived, but God doesn’t waste our sorrow. Our tears become the water necessary for the garden of our hopeful future. Out of our tears, in our journey to hope from hurt, God is moving through this brokenness and making something beautiful.
I challenge you, today to ask yourself some reflective questions to find the hope in your current hurts.
1. Where have I experienced loss recently?
2. How am I grieving that loss?
3. With whom should I be grieving?
4. Am I willing to be courageous enough to be vulnerable?
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” – C.S. Lewis
God, you are present with us in every moment of our existence, and you seem even closer to us in our sorrow, in our suffering, in our pain. As a country, we are experiencing pain and loss. We confess, we have too often trusted in our strength and resources, and we have neglected to live our life with you. But now, O Lord, help us to heal. Help us to find the courage to be broken and vulnerable together. Help us to move to and through the hurt. We know that you’ve promised to never leave us nor forsake us, and that is no less true in our suffering. Be with us, and help us to be with you, and from our brokenness, make something beautiful.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.