I Hold Hope With Compassion

I don’t know about you, but in this season of my life, discouragement seems to come with each new day. I try to talk my perspective up like positivity is a push up–you’re fine, all things work together for good, you have so much so just be grateful. Unfortunately, my heart is not so quick to believe and absorb these anthems. If anything, they feel embarrassingly empty.

I don’t want to be this way. I don’t want to be a victim of my feelings. I don’t want to give more gravity to pain than to peace. It’s just that sometimes the peace is so lightweight it feels impossible to grasp. In fact, to grasp it, I must let go, but there’s nothing I do better than hold on. I esteem not giving up so much like it’s a crown of glory that when it’s actually a bottle of poison… I can’t always see clearly enough to let go.

In these times of white knuckled discouragement, unsustainable thought patterns, and a world that just does too much to confirm it all, hope often seems too vague to cling to as an idea. I need something much more tangible to ground me than just the idea of a better future, of redemption, of heaven. The prospect is wonderful, but frankly, I need to witness even the distant but present murmurings of hope now.

To have faith, I must know what I have faith in. I must know God’s goodness today. I must hold onto that goodness like a muddled photograph of the future, where it will be the only subject in the frame. Where it will be, and be, and be.

Lately, I haven’t seen this goodness as much in “good” things happening, or whatever that means in a time of deep uncertainty and separation. Instead, I’ve seen it much more clearly in the eyes of others who draw near to me to ease my burden, who understand and help me understand, who take pity without pitying me–and others. I’ve even been encouraged by my own feelings, not of antagonism but of softness and tenderness, towards those who are hard to love.

Here I have found my hope: in compassion. In the unselfish image of God that is in all of us. In the love of the cross, the kind that hurts, that occurs in the low, that happens before the Resurrection. Jesus has compassion on us in our most pre-transformed, terrible forms. When I see this compassion in others and myself, it flips a switch in my brain. It tells me, the Resurrection is coming.

And I’m going to see it.

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

1 Peter 3:8-9

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