‘……….So, be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a while. These trials will show your faith to be genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold – though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when our faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honour on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world’. 1 Peter 1:7
It is three minutes to midnight on the day that our first child is due. I remember clearly the time when I first wanted children. It was 1996 and I had just returned from the Balkans, head still spinning from the war and desperately looking for something to hope in. I have seen first hand the true depravity of hopelessness. The absence of any form of reality, morality; an empty void of despair waiting to be filled by hope. A parallel world where boundaries no longer existed. Hope for the future, then, lay in the next generation. This one had had it’s chance; bury it, forget it and dream. It was my hope to have & hope lay in my hands.
It is five minutes past midnight, sixteen years later and I know Hope. I met Hope in the darkest place on earth..in the centre of hopelessness. I met Him, because He was already there. He had already gone there, waiting for me. Later, during the years of trying for children, every month the darkness would deepen, old wounds would open and yet Hope remained. Sometimes I wrapped that Hope in bitterness and blame, sometimes jealousy, often anger, always looking for answers and a way to control.
As a community we are currently surrounded by many trials, yet few answers. The darkness of hopelessness threatens often to overwhelm. This scripture is often just so hard to accept, it can seem so unfair, almost mocking. And yet, it’s true beauty lies in the truth that it is Hope that holds our faith, a faith so precious that no matter how deep the darkness, we know that Hope is sitting, patiently waiting for us so He can lead us out again. When our child is born, it will be born into Hope. Not a Hope that we have made, nor a Hope that we can always see; but a Hope that will also be waiting for them, where Hope found me.