Finding hope in the face of despair

By  Suzanne Joanes, Youth Speak News
  • May 10, 2013

Sometimes I think everything in life is wonderful: nature, places, people. Then I hear stories of destruction, whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual, and I s ometimes believe this isn’t a world where I want to be living; it’s a world that seems like a nightmare from which I can’t wake.

I used to wonder why God didn’t just stop all the evil in the world. I didn’t understand suffering until, one Good Friday, I realized that the struggles that I face are nothing compared to the amount the Lord struggled for me.

Recently, I read the story of a 12-year-old girl who had been with her father as he was driving a pick-up truck in Ste. Rose du Lac, Man., during a flood. The water levels were deeper than anticipated and the truck became stuck. The girl slipped into a fast-moving current and held onto a nearby tree. As I read the story, I thought about what might have been going through the young girl’s mind: fear, doubt, confusion, but most of all, hope. In holding onto that tree, she was also most likely grasping onto a strand of hope.

I often recall Margaret Powers’ famous poem “Footprints in the Sand.” The story recounts the tale of a man walking on the beach, seeing two pairs of footprints: one which are his and the other the Lord’s. When facing suffering, the man notices only one pair and asked the Lord why He abandoned him. The Lord replies, “When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”

It is during the times we feel the most pain when God’s love for us feels almost out of reach. We want the Lord to save us from hurting, and we want it done in a way that will leave no further harm to us.

Sometimes, when we are facing danger or great tragedy in our lives, our instinct is to ask, “Lord, why me?” What we often fail to realize is that the Lord, as always, has a bigger plan for us, even if that means we will be hit by a few pebbles in order to be shielded from the many rocks that could have potentially knocked us down without His protection.

Sometimes, in life, we lose. We lose someone with distance, time or death. We lose material items as we grow older, and we lose the meaning of our purpose, especially in times when we feel endangered or experience loss. When we lose these things, it is through preserving hope and entrusting in our faith that we will eternally win God’s graces, though they are not physically apparent.

Suffering isn’t God’s work. It does not exist because God isn’t there. We may, however, fail to see the bigger picture that God is presenting to us. When something bad happens, we shouldn’t lose or reject our faith, but rather realize that God is speaking to us amidst tragedy.

(Joanes, 18, is a first-year concurrent education student at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.)

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