I've posted a new article on the "Opening the Bible" blog at i.ucc. It's about how anguish and desperation and hopelessness can take us to a place where there are no masks, nothing hidden and no fakeness. Maybe there is where hope can begin to grow. What are your thoughts about "Desparation and Hope?"
Desperation hides very little, if anything. Maybe it's in that raw, genuine anguish that hope begins to grow.
This week we're taking a look at Psalm 130 and Mark 5:21-43. Here are two Bible passages that offer desperation and hope.
In the Mark passage we see two miracles of Jesus. Jesus raises Jairus daughter and a woman bleeding for 12 years is healed. These are two amazing events that came to people who were completely desperate. In both cases there's no real celebration afterwards. As a matter of fact, in the case of Jairus' daughter, Jesus tells everyone to keep quiet about it.
Why is there no huge celebration here? And why was there no celebration after the woman reached out to the fringe on Jesus' robe and was healed after bleeding for 12 years? Maybe in these stories God is revealing something else.
Look at the verses in Psalm 130. Out of the depths I cry to you Oh, Lord. Lord, Hear my voice!Those words communicate pain, anguish, and desperation.
Imagine the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years. Doctors had done her no good. If fact, things were just getting worse. In her desperation for a cure she dared to reach out to touch the fringe of Jesus' robe. In her pain and anguish she reached out.
Imagine Jairus. His daughter was near death. And in his fear and trembling he cried out and sent for Jesus only to have too much time pass and have his daughter die. He must have experienced horrible pain and deep anguish. His desperation had turned to hopelessness.
Can you remember a time when you have been desperate in pain and anguish? Have you ever put on a church face" or "public face" and gone out and smiled and said Oh, fine! when people asked, How are you? I think we all hide our pain most of the time. I know I do. And all too often we put on a face to hide our desperation. We probably do a pretty good job, too. Because no one seems to notice.
Oh but there is hope here. The writer of the Psalm also says, My hope is in the Lord. And I wait for the LordThe woman who reached out in her desperation was healed. And Jairus daughter was brought back to life!
Out of the depths I cry to you, Oh Lord. Lord, Hear my voice!
When we are in pain; when we are filled with anguish. When things seem hopeless God is there. When we cry out God hears us. God is a source of strength and compassion. That compassion often takes the form of a shoulder to cry on. It often takes the form of a person who will listen.
It is all right to cry out. It is all right to come to God with your pain and anguish.
When our desperation and hopelessness strips us bear of whatever we use to hide our authentic selves, I believe we find that God brings love, compassion, healing hope.