400 years is a long time.
This span is what is traditionally estimated to be the length of the “silent period” of the inter-testamental time between the Old and New Testaments. It is held that God had nothing new to say to his people between the writings of Malachi and the appearance of John the Baptist. I can’t imagine the weight of silence over this period of time. For a people who had such a unique and special relationship with Jehovah God, the silence had to be deafening.
For my family, it has been more like 400 days.
Maybe that isn’t an exact number, but the way it feels it might as well be 400 years. For well over a year now we have been trying to grow our family, but to no avail. We are now in a season of secondary infertility, even though we have a healthy little boy from a relatively smooth first pregnancy.
Over these 400 days, my own hope is being tested. After every negative pregnancy test and both of our miscarriages disappointment creeps through every part of us. While we feel this desire to grow our family, we are met with an increasing sense of hopelessness.
The questions creep in. Why is this happening? What am I doing wrong? How have I made God upset? Are we being punished for something? Is there something wrong with one of us?
When those questions creep in, the answers are not much better. As we continue being disappointed, we start to think less of our God. Maybe God is mad. Maybe I am being punished for some sin. Maybe there is something inherently wrong with us. Or God.
As the days pass without receiving what we asked for, our hope fades. Just as I would suspect those who lived during those 400 years would feel.
Today I write this response to Allen’s post yesterday about the places we have lost hope. What is interesting about this post is I am unable to give a lot of words to increase your hope. To be honest, ours is hanging by a thread.
Just like our friends during the inter-testamental period.
Just like Jesus’ friends in the upper room after he died and ascended to heaven.
Just like Sarah as she approached multiple decades of infertility.
Yet, God came through. But, never in a way that one would have suspected.
J.R.R. Tolkien coined the literary term – Eucatastrophe – that point in the story where all hope is lost that something quite unlikely and unexpected completely changes the outcome of the story.
But, only after all hope is lost.
Like a baby boy in cattle stall on a cold winter’s night.
After 400 years of silence.
As I said before, I am not a great person to write on hope since we are feeling a bit hopeless right now. Really, I have no words of wisdom about how to have hope during a time of hopelessness.
Yet, I hold out for the eucatastrophe. The “sudden joyous turn”, as it were. As it happened for those God redeemed in scripture…..so let it happen to my family. And for that matter, yours if you are feeling hopeless right now.
That is our hope.
Ok, I have said enough about where we have lost hope. Where are the place you have lost hope on your journey? Where have you seen the “sudden joyous turn” in the midst of hopelessness?