When Hope Did Not Disappoint
I couldn’t stop fidgeting from joint aches as I desperately searched for padded pews at Mass that day. My body needed Him. My body needed His Body.
This is just one scene from my invisible fight with the chronic condition that rages in my flesh and bone each day. While I look and act "completely normal," an autoimmune disorder shapes every aspect of my life, throwing me into a world of erratic hospital visits, unpleasant side effects, and annoying lifestyle changes.
Sometimes, I am rendered home-bound or severely motionless, other times I am forced into a position of vulnerability before others, allowing them to see the powerlessness I would rather keep hidden. Then there’s loneliness. Pain and fatigue sometimes isolates me, displacing my need for community, forcing me to see myself as a burden to my family, to friends.
Yet, the power of hope has never been more palpable. While my debilitating disease can often leave me disappointed, hope does not...
because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. // Romans 5:5
It is He who transforms our frail and failing bodies into living, vibrant temples. Our seasons of loss and lament are not just about learning, they are about experiencing the outpouring of God’s love.
This invisible illness has been the crucible of God’s love. It has matured me to encounter Christ in the miraculous and the mundane. My tears flow from a heart of hopeful lament and my purpose isn’t found in doing; it is found in being. It is from this position that I receive myself as a "gift," especially when I am battling skin outbreaks, swollen joints, and immobility. It is from here that I connect, communicate, and comfort those bereft of hope.
For now, I may live in the tension of believing miracles yet to come, but I dwell in the mystery that here—in my broken body, in the center of my deficiency—is One whose Blood speaks a better word for my healing, at Whose altar all my suffering is soothed and sustained in Hope.
My illness may be invisible, but I am not invisible to Him. My hope is certain because God’s love has been poured out. The Cross displays it, the tomb echoes it, and the Holy Spirit seals it.
Let Us Pray
Come, Holy Spirit, fill our hearts with the Truth of Your unconditional love for us. As we carry crosses that only You know of, help us to offer them to You in love and to draw closer to You. Amen!
Is there something you're carrying right now that you have kept from others? From God? Take some time and talk to Him about it.
What miracle "yet to come" are you praying and hoping for? Are you hoping with a "dead hope" or a "living hope"?