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I am naturally wired to look at the positive side of life. I’m your typical glass-is-half-full optimist that generally believes that best about people and situations. I error on the side of faith and hope. Even when things look impossible I expect God to show up and move in powerful ways.
However, there is one area in particular that I struggle to hope. For years I’ve prayed and believed, but nothing has changed, and in the process I’ve had to deal with a lot of heartache. Because of this, I laid hope aside. I couldn’t handle the emotions any longer that are tied with hoping for something long term and being repeatedly disappointed.
So, I gave up. I threw myself into ministry and schedules and meetings and projects and the life right in front of me. I was honestly ready to move on from hoping for that thing anymore.
Then a couple of months ago, a book caught my eye. Every once in a while this happens: I see a title and I can’t get it out of my head. That’s when I know there’s something to this book–and that’s exactly what happened with Katie Davis Major’s new book, Daring to Hope.
The Right Book at the Right Time
It’s funny. Daring to Hope has sat on my bookshelf for several months. I gave it to my mom for Christmas, and soon after she finished it, she stuck it on my shelf, saying it was one she thought I’d enjoy. And it sat there until a few weeks ago when I finally took the leap and obeyed the nudge to read it.
Truthfully I thought this book was about Katie meeting her husband. I’d read her first book, Kisses from Katie, during a college mission trip and was blow away by her story of moving to Uganda, adopting thirteen daughters, and starting a ministry as a single woman.
A few years ago when I heard that she had gotten married, I eagerly awaited the details about her journey to marriage because I just can’t get enough of a good God-written love story.That’s what I thought I was getting into with this book. And while Katie does talk about meeting and marrying her husband, the majority of what she shares is about finding God’s goodness in the broken and beautiful pieces of life.
This book is an honest account of one woman walking through very painful circumstances and obeying God’s call to hope in the process.
As I read about Katie’s experiences of losing a daughter, tending to the sick in her community, and staying bedside while two of her friends left this world, I felt my heart sit up and pay attention. Though I haven’t walked through the things Katie experienced, I could relate to her hesitancy to hope again after things didn’t go the way she had believed they would.
She shares about her experience of caring for a friend through a terminal illness–how she believed God could and would heal the woman, but in the end she went to be with the Lord. A short while after that, another woman came into her life and her home with the same diagnosis, and Katie struggled with whether she could do it all again.
How do you hope again when things didn’t turn out the way you wanted them to the first time?
That’s the question God I wrestled with throughout this book, and honestly the question I’m still wrestling with. But I think it comes down to one important question: What (or rather, Who) are we putting our hope in?
If we’re hoping in an outcome, more than likely we will be disappointed. It seems nothing turns out quite like we want it to. Circumstances change. People fail. Seasons end. Dreams die.
But hoping in God–hoping in His goodness, His unchanging character, His love, grace, and mercy–that is the foundation on which we need to build our hope.
Katie says it beautifully: “I can hold on to hope because I can hold onto Him.”
We should expect God to move in our circumstances. We should ask Him to bring healing and provision and fulfill promises and lead us into dreams. But our trust cannot rest in these things. It has to rest in God alone. And if things don’t go the way we want, we can still hold on to hope because we can hold onto God, no matter what happens.
We can hold on to hope because we know who He is, that He loves us, and that His plans are always for good.
I struggle with this, though. I’ve been on this hope journey long enough to know that sometimes God leads us into seasons that are incredibly painful. While He doesn’t cause the pain, He does redeem it and use it to grow us and draw us closer to Him. Still, there are days that truth doesn’t sit well with me.
There are days when I don’t want to hope because life is hard and it can be hard to believe that things can be different.
Hope is a scary thing because it means putting our faith in something–Someone–that we can’t see. Romans 8:24-25 says,
“Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”
Hope is tied with waiting, with expecting God to show and move. When we hope, we put our trust in God and believe that He’s going to do what is best, even if it’s painful for a little while.
Hope requires bravery. It requires us to sit daily in God’s presence, to seek to know Him more, so that when life goes a little crazy and grief and heartache feel all-consuming, we can rest in the One who redeems and saves and restores.
That’s something Katie taught me. When we’re willing to press into the Lord and allow Him to be our strength and source of hope, we can find beauty even in broken places.
Hope is the thing that reminds us that God is good all of the time, no matter what season we find ourselves.
If you’re in a season of waiting or struggling, or a season of redemption and restoration; if you’re struggling to believe that God is good, or you’re having trouble seeing God’s goodness where you are, pick up a copy of Daring to Hope. Allow God to use Katie’s story to minister to you and speak life, hope, and truth into your story.
Is there a book you’ve read lately that’s given you hope for the journey?
Live in His love!
Related: The One About Hope
*Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.