Hope doesn’t work without the cross.
Sometimes we feel like our burdens are heavy, and sometimes light. My guess is that many of us would go with the former at this particular point in history.
If the word burden is unrelatable, how about anxiety, restlessness, fear? Chatting with a girlfriend this weekend, the un-graceful words we had were: “The world is a strange place to be right now.”
When I worked with high schoolers, I sometimes heard the sincere and naive desire for a greater challenge in life: “I can’t be close to God unless I experience something that is really hard, something that makes me really need God.” “Soon enough, sweet girl, soon enough,” we might say.
In a way, she was right. With eyes of faith, we see the unavoidable truth that Good Friday came before Easter Sunday. Death comes before new life.
Look at your life. But don’t look too far; don’t over complicate.
God is tremendous and also simple. Simple, not that we can control God with our intellect. Simple, that we can understand God in an intuitive made-for-you sort of way with our bodily existence.
God became one of us in Jesus so that we could continue to know God through the walking and talking and crying and cooking and changing of our everyday lives for all of history.
The cross of burden and suffering is in other places, but it is also here in our own lives. And so is the hope.
In these multiplied moments at home, I have felt an increase of hope. More moments of lighting candles for the sick, the deceased, the depressed- both known and unknown. More walks with my children and listening to the breeze move through trees, rustling drying-out summer leaves. More honest talks with my spouse; opening up wounds of past, vision for future and gratitude for the passing present. More moments of seeing my own selfishness and stubbornness, and corresponding opportunities for letting go and handing over.
Hope is not faint; hope is not weak. Hope is experiencing the cross and realizing that what we’ve heard is true. There is new life.