I will always hope in you and add to all your praise. // Psalm 71:14
My mind froze trying to grapple how a friend—someone who knew me so intimately—could betray me. I often chide and say that if there ever were a binding contract for pastoral ministry, the fine print would warn the undersigned that ministry is hazardous, that it would subject them to expressions of animosity, slander, and betrayal.
In my grief, I whispered, "Lord, I need hope again!"
In Hebrew, the word for "hope" is tikvah which literally means “a rope or cord,” something we can tangibly grasp. No wonder pages of Sacred Scripture are inundated with downcast souls who give voice to their suffering in song, those who have learned to grasp something real, solid, stable, and energizing: hope!
In Psalm 71:14, David wrote:
I will always hope in you and add to all your praise.
David’s song burst forth in the midst of fear and confusion, possibly during revolt and betrayal from Absalom. Notice how David entwines hope and praise together. He does not say, "I will praise you more when my hope is fulfilled"; rather, his praise flourishes in the midst of hoping, in the midst of holding, even if by a thin thread.
What David professed to be true about God became in his plea—and arguably in his life—an expression of praise. His theology became his doxology. When he could not steadily hold on to God's promises, God’s promises were holding him. And they hold us. And they held me.
In my grief, what I confounded to be a season of rejection turned out to be one of great revival. While preparing for our women’s conference, I came across a video of women singing the popular song “The Blessing.” Almost tempted to scroll past, my eyes stopped to read how the video included deaf Christians.
Across the screen, faces of women of all shades and tribes sang from kitchens, yards, and churches, echoing the words God gave to Aaron to bless his people (see Numbers 6:24–26)—to bless us when we forget to sing in our hopelessness.
That afternoon, in worship, I imagined faces silenced by suffering, singing their lament before the victorious Lamb. And I imagined the face of the one called "forever Friend" whose scarlet cord restores all relationships, in whose Hope I can enter, even with broken songs, even when I’m hanging by thin threads.
What David professed to be true about God became, in his plea, an expression of praise. His theology became his doxology. When he could not steadily hold on to God's promises, God’s promises were holding him. #prayerpledge //Click to tweet
Let Us Pray
Lamb of God, You give us hope. Thank You for holding us when we cannot hang on. Thank You for the threads of hope that keep our hearts connected to Your Sacred Heart. We love You! Amen.
Look back over your life and think of those times when you "hung by a thread." How did that bit of hope keep you moving forward? In hindsight, how did that influence your relationship with God?
Read the blessing from Numbers mentioned above. What part sticks out to you today?