When Hope Fails

Apparently I’m weird because I’m drawn to stories of suffering. Authentic accounts of men and women of God who endured – these are the books and movies I’ll gladly choose to fill my time. There’s just something about real people experiencing loss, finding no relief, or giving up their lives that makes me want to listen.

And let me tell you, if you sat down and talked with these people as they were walking through such heart-wrenching grief and pain, I can promise you they would talk about hope.

Hope of rescue, healing, answers, breakthrough, maybe a different set of circumstances . . .

But, get this – for every person who saw the fulfillment of their hope, you’ll find a person who didn’t.

Corrie and Betsie ten Boom were sent to a concentration camp during the atrocities of World War II as punishment for their successful attempt to save the lives of a few Jews. Corrie was released and lived to tell her story, even witnessing the transformation of one of her prison guards. Her sister, Betsie, hoped for the same with great anticipation, but died in the camp’s hospital weeks before Corrie’s release.

Mary Connell fought multiple aggressive bouts of cancer for years, hoping for lasting healing and the joy of many more days with her husband and seven children. By the sweet grace of God, she lived. Chip Stam‘s story ended differently. I have never seen stronger hope in a dying man, but Chip never experienced the earthly healing he firmly believed could be his at any moment.

Jim and Elisabeth Elliot‘s hearts were overcome with the desire to see the Auca Indians believe in the gospel. Jim lost his life in the process. But not without leaving a beautiful opportunity for his widow to evangelize that very tribe. Elisabeth saw the glorious outcome. Jim didn’t.

Each had high hopes – even good, godly hopes. For some, those hopes were fulfilled. For others, those hopes failed.

Or so it seems. Until we recognize the great, supernatural hope shining brighter than all the rest:

when hope fails2

That’s not an in-this-life kind of hope. That’s a hope even death cannot interrupt.

Corrie was released from a torturous prison. Betsie entered into everlasting freedom.

Mary experienced significant, miraculous healing. Chip received a perfect, pain-free body.

Elisabeth personally witnessed the transformation of a head-hunting tribe . . . made possible through the willing sacrifice of her husband’s earthly life. {Jesus now, so that others might know later? Jim thought it a gracious exchange.}

My friend, when you set your hope fully on the grace to come, such a hope just cannot fail.

 [image credit: unsplash.com, journeyoftheword.com]


15 thoughts on “When Hope Fails

  1. Suffering is definitely a part of life on this earth. What an inspiration each of these Godly people were! There are days I wish and pray that I can have the kind of faith and strength they had…God truly is good. It is MY weakness that draws me away in difficult times. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Beautiful post, Lydia . . . I always feel drawn to stories of suffering, too–I suppose, to be honest, drawn and repelled at the same time. I am drawn to them because, as you wrote in your post, they give me hope. And they inspire courage–to endure whatever suffering the Lord brings into my life–because this life is only a vapor. Truly, when we share in His sufferings, we also will share in His glory. There is such indescribable blessed hope in that! And then, these stories of suffering, even though I am drawn to them, at times take my breath away and give me pause. And I think, “am I willing to suffer like that for His sake?” And that is why we are given the hope of the eternal–that if we suffer with Him, we will also reign with Him. So I have to hold that promise to my heart–that the sufferings of this present world are not to be compared with the glories that will be revealed. He is such a beautiful hope-giving Savior.

    Thank you so much for sharing these words–they made me ponder. The Lord bless you and protect you and defend you, Lydia.

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  3. They’re heavy stories.
    But then we will never appreciate the light if we’ve never experienced darkness. It is in the suffering that we understand the meaning of hope and salvation.

    Thanks for sharing these inspiring stories.

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  4. I too love those stories that encourage and bring hope. Corrie Ten Boom is one of my favorites. Even those that don’t always end as we would like them to, God brings beauty from the ashes. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.

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  5. “That’s not an in-this-life kind of hope. That’s a hope even death cannot interrupt.” “My friend, when you set your hope fully on the grace to come, such a hope just cannot fail.” AMEN! Our hope is sure whether we see in this life or in the life to come. You posts are always so thoughtful and help us to think more deeply about God and His Word. Blessings to you! Thanks for sharing at the #LMMLinkup!

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  6. I don’t think you are weird. I too, enjoy stories of suffering especially when the characters come out victorious and praising God despite their trials. God bless as you continue to serve and honor him!

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  7. Amen! Our hope is one that says we know it will be okay, whether our prayer is answered or not. For someday, we will be whole and healed and free again. It was a blessing to stop by here today! Thank you!

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  8. This is absolutely stunning. I wrote something a year or so ago called The Gift of Suffering, which was along the same line of thought. I love how you so eloquently beckon us to put our hope only in Christ. Sharing!!

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