How Hope Changed Me

Hope.

An expectation of obtainment. To expect with confidence.

I hope that I get that promotion. I hope that my children don’t get hurt. I hope that I find an amazing person to marry.

Everybody hopes in something. For something. It’s as natural as breathing.

I hoped that one day I’d find my knight in shining armor. I didn’t know when he’d arrive on my doorstep so while I waited for him, I made a list of things that I desired to find in my future husband. He should be tall, musical, sensitive, funny, honest, trusting, protecting, handsome, and love Jesus.

I hoped for a lot.

Finally, he found me. And I found him. We were smitten with each other from our very first date at Chili’s in Austin, Texas. Apparently, he liked me so much that, unbeknownst to me, he put a down payment on my wedding ring the next day. And ten months later, I got a new last name.

American author, Catherine Marshall said, “God is the only one who can make the valley of trouble a door of hope.” I had no idea how applicable this quote would be in my life one day. But nine years into our marriage, everything crumbled. I’d come to find out that for a period of about two and a half years, my pastor-husband, Chris, acted out on his very sordid addiction to pornography and committed multiple acts of infidelity including a pregnancy from one of the women. The day he confessed all of this to me was the worst day of my life.

My marriage died. So did my hope.

I begged God to heal my very devastated heart. I was desperate for my pain to subside even just for a few moments. Although there was a huge part of me that just wanted to just cut my losses and hit the road, there was still this inner voice that kept asking, "What does God want you to do?"

I wasn’t sure I could stay married to a man who’d absolutely destroyed my heart. So for several days I beseeched God, asking Him to give me a Word to stand on. I knew then, even in the pit of my despair, that I needed to be grounded in whatever decision I made because the obvious storms that would come on my future path would need the only thing that could withstand the tumultuous winds: The Word of God.

He spoke to me through a very unlikely, minor prophet named Habakkuk:

"For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay." (Ch. 2, v. 3, NIV)

That verse may not mean anything to you but it means the world to me. It's the very Word I needed from God as I was contemplating my future. I heard God whisper this hope to my heart: My child, I know you don't think anything good can come from this situation. I know you don't understand what I’m doing. But I need to you trust me because I can and I will make all of this work for your good and my glory.

So I stayed.

My marriage was not instantly better but His peace fell upon me as soon as I proclaimed my trust in Him. Amidst the pain, God was ever present. On the days when I could barely lift my head from the pillow, He gave me strength. When the images would come flooding into my mind, He gave me peace. When the pain bombarded me and suffocated me, He comforted me. Had I never needed comfort, I would not have known the Comforter.

I can’t promise that He will remove storms and chaos from your life. What I can promise is that when you are weak, He’ll be strong. When you think you can’t take another step, He’ll carry you. When you are in despair, He’ll be your hope. We find these truths in Isaiah 40:30-31:

“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

There are many things I don’t know in life. I don’t understand algebra or physics. I don’t get how a heavy airplane can stay up in the sky and not fall to the ground. I wish I knew why innocent people have to suffer, why children have to die. If I did, I’d bottle up the formula to fix their problems and give it away.

But I do know this.

According to the Bible, I serve a big God. He created the Universe in less than a week. He formed mountains and scooped out valleys with His hands. He is everywhere, all the time. He can change a heart with the snap of his fingers. He can bring sight to a blind man with so