There once was a woman who dreamed of becoming an author.
In the midst of great devastation and rebuilding in her life, she wrote a story. This story was the first in a series of books she hoped to one day write. From her small one-bedroom apartment she worked two jobs and raised two young children. She worked herself to exhaustion, writing whenever she could.
Once the book was completed, she sent the manuscript out to for publishing. She received rejection letter after rejection letter. Even still, she felt the call to have this story be known. After twelve rejections, the thirteenth publisher finally agreed to print the story. This story and it’s six successive sequels grew in popularity more abundantly than she could have ever dreamed of. Her series went on to sell over 500 million copies.
What felt like the most outlandish dream she could ever have for herself turned into reality because she was brave enough to pursue it.
When I was a teenager a close friend of mine died unexpectedly.
To say that I was not emotionally or mentally prepared to deal with the emotional fallout of the loss would be an understatement.
I struggled to wrap my head around the reality of the loss. I struggled in school. I struggled with my parents. I struggled to get out of bed in the morning. Depression settled in; clouding my sight so that nothing had color in the world anymore. I felt numb and over time that numbness sprouted into hopelessness until my will to live crumbled away.
I felt like I was looking up from a deep pit. It was so dark within but if I looked up, I could see light. I just couldn’t reach it. The idea of being able to climb my way out felt impossible. It was too deep, too dark. I wasn’t strong enough.
The only thing that kept me on this earth was a quiet voice in the back of my mind that whispered, “You have purpose here”. It was like a rope that had been thrown down into the pit for me to climb. I clung to it. I grabbed onto it with clenched fists for the better part of a year, but I didn’t have the strength to climb it. For a long time, its sole purpose was to give me hope that someday I might be capable.
I trusted God enough that I was able to tell myself that He had a reason for keeping me here. Though the progress I was desperate to make felt so big and out of my capability. Over time, through counseling and a lot of concentrated effort, I began to regain my strength. I slowly climbed by way out of that pit and into the sunshine once more. Even now looking back into it, it looks impossibly deep. I can’t fully explain how I got out because it feels like a miracle to me. I don’t think I ever would have found my way if God hadn’t thrown me that rope.
The book of Lamentations is a good example of hopelessness in impossible circumstances. Jeremiah wrote this book after Jerusalem was completely destroyed. He writes as he processes through the trauma of his world literally crumbling to pieces. You see, Jerusalem was the home, pride and place of promise for the Jews. This place was the cornerstone of everything for them. Without it, their faith, sense of self and interpersonal unity has been shaken. They wander, lost and broken, questioning if things could ever be good again.
“Her (Jerusalem) fall was astounding; there was none to comfort her.”
“My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is. My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.”
“How distressed I am! I am in torment within…inside there is only death.”
Do any of these statements resonate with you?
Jeremiah knew brokenness and defeat. He knew what it felt like to feel hopeless. To feel like God had forsaken him. He looked at how far Jerusalem had fallen, wondering if it would even be conceivable for them to ever find redemption again.
In his brokenness and doubt, a part of Jeremiah still trusted in God’s goodness. Though much of what he writes sounds like hopelessness, he deviates somewhat with:
“Let him sit alone in silence,
for the Lord has laid it on him.
Let him bury his face in the dust –
there may yet be hope.
For men are not cast off by the Lord forever.
Though He brings grief,
He will show compassion,
so great is His unfailing love.”
When things feel insurmountable. When the hole is so deep you think you couldn’t possibly climb your way out or when the mountain you dream of climbing is so high and treacherous that you think you couldn’t possibly make your way to the top. There is hope.
It may feel impossible. Unbelievable. Inconceivable.
But I assure you it isn’t.