Hope in the Darkest Times

By Kathy McCready

One minute I’m driving, singing along at the top of my lungs to the Lauren Daigle song, “O’ Lord” and the next minute, tears are streaming down my cheeks as this line arrests me: “One day you’ll take all that is wrong and make it right”.  That is what I truly hope for, especially during the most challenging life situations.

Why is it that hope shines brightest in the darkest times?

Three years ago, our family lived through a very dark time. Randy had already moved to Pittsburgh and started his job at the University of Pittsburgh. We thought Molly and I would follow shortly after, but the housing market tanked. Unexpected issues came up with Randy’s job. We questioned whether God was really calling us to Pittsburgh or if, like for Abraham, God would provide a ram in the thicket and we wouldn’t have to move. (I was planning on being buried in the cemetery across the street from our Wauwatosa home!) Months stretched to a year. Eventually God’s plan became clear, but it tested my faith and wreaked havoc on our then 14-year-old daughter. There wasn’t one thing I could do to fix our situation. All I could do was wait. And it chafed my soul.

Many of our Meadowbrook friends walked alongside us in that painful time. Very often God spoke hope through some of them, reminding me – in Scripture and in prayer – of God’s promises that he had not abandoned us and would see us through. All during that year I clung to this simple verse nearly every day: “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

As we waited and prayed, God proved himself faithful to provide exactly what we needed: hope in the time of waiting, a buyer for our house, a better job situation for Randy, a new home in the Pittsburgh area, and a school for Molly. The things that seem “wrong” in our lives and in our world don’t always resolve in the way we hope they will, but our hope is in the Lord, not in an outcome!

Advent is a poignant time for me. I long to inhabit quieter spaces, to get in touch with the longings in my own heart, longings for God to take what’s wrong and make it right. It's the perfect season to contemplate what it means to wait in hope. May we remind each other often of our Reason to hope. Not just at Advent and Christmas, but all year.

“So let us enter Advent in hope, even hope against hope. Let us see visions of love and peace and justice. Let us affirm with humility, with joy, with faith, with courage: Jesus Christ—the life of the world.”

~ from Advent Credo by Daniel Berrigan


About Kathy McCready:

Kathy has been on staff with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship for 29 years, the past nine years with graduate students. She and her family live in the north hills of Pittsburgh. Besides loving Jesus, Kathy is a lover of all things coffee and dark chocolate. The McCreadys have an adorable dog named Juno, who unfortunately shares his Mom’s love of dark chocolate!  Contact information: 414-617-4823    kathy.mccready@att.net          1906 Markley Dr., Sewickley, PA  15143