It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon in May. The year was 2006. I was at a women’s retreat in the southeastern part of Minnesota. The focus of the retreat was spiritual, physical and mental health. The presenter was talking about depression and suicide.
There was a knock on the meeting room door and someone got up to see who was there. They came back and got me. I walked out of the room and into the kitchen and there stood my two sons. I saw the looks on their faces and their body language. Questions raced through my mind. Why are they here? What happened? My husband is out of town, did something happen to him? What could possibly be going on?
And then I heard one of them say Molly. And I knew. I don’t know what else they said. But I knew. Molly was dead. My sister was gone. Her battle with depression was over. Molly had ended her life.
Over the days, weeks and months ahead, we grieved. We wept. We were devastated. We were hurting and broken. How do we make sense of this? Where were the answers to our questions? How do we go on? What could we have done? What could we have said? The what ifs were endless.
At the same time, there was something else happening within us. There was hope.
We all need hope.
We had hope that Molly was healed and with Jesus. We had hope that we would see her again. We had hope that in her death, others would come to faith in Jesus. We had hope that God in His mercy would comfort us. We had hope that God would bring beauty out of the ashes. We had hope that he would give us peace. We had hope that when we were weak, He would be our strength.
So, what is hope?
One type of hope could be called “wishful thinking.” They are desires in our lives that we want. Maybe they can happen. I hope I win the lottery. I hope I get a pony for Christmas. I hope I get the promotion. I hope she likes me. I hope the Vikings win the Super Bowl. We hope for many things in this life.
The other type of hope is grounded in our faith in Jesus. It is based on the promises God has given to us in His Word. And as we place our hope in Him and His promises, we see our faith grow. As our faith grows, we have even more hope. We experienced this type of hope.
Over the years:
We still have hope that Molly is healed and that we will see her again.
My dad came to faith and died three years later. We have hope that we will see him again!
God has and continues to comfort us in our loss.
God brought beauty out of the ashes through some family members starting a suicide support group. We had the opportunity to share, love, minister to and support others in their journey of depression and loss through suicide with our yearly Walk for Hope.
We have experienced the peace that passes understanding.
God has continually strengthened us.
All of the things we hoped for have been and continue to be fulfilled.
“Hope is the expectation of fulfillment that is anchored in God’s promise to meet my need. Hope is not based on my emotional or mental determination. It is rooted in God. Quite simply, we are optimistic because we have faith in who we have placed our hope.” Marilyn Meberg, speaker at Women of Faith
We live in a fallen, broken, hurting world. We all have our own Molly story. But because of Jesus we have hope. I like the way Hebrews 10:23 reads in the Passion translation: “So now we must cling tightly to the hope that lives within us, knowing that God always keeps His promises.”
It’s ok to have hope and wishful thinking for the desires in your life, but it’s most important to have true hope in Jesus, our Lord and Savior.