For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior’s boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
“Suffering naturally gives rise to doubt. How can one believe in God in the face of such horrendous suffering as slavery, segregation, and the lynching tree? Under these circumstances, doubt is not a denial but an integral part of faith. It keeps faith from being sure of itself. But doubt does not have the final word. The final word is faith giving rise to hope.”
James H. Cone, The Cross and the Lynching Tree
I’ve seen You in our home fires burning with a quiet light
You are mothering and feeding in the wee hours of the night
Your gentle love is patient, You will never fade or tire
Your peace will make us one.
Your Peace Will Make Us One by Audrey Assad
Hope is an intergenerational reverberation that pulses from the beginning of time through the present to eternity and back again. Hope is a revolution that begins in darkness—from the very foundations of the earth—reminding us that when we sense darkness, hope is always nearby, whispering, speaking, or shouting its strong melody. Hope might be invisible, but she moves upon the earth finding her welcome at the feet of those who know suffering, in the eyes of those unable to see because of thick darkness, in the voices of those who never speak to crowds, in the walking sticks of those who traverse between faith and doubt, the ones who must lean in order to stand.
Hope came in the sinews of a vulnerable woman, in her growing and uncomfortable bosom, in the very darkness of her nurturing womb.
The heaviest yoke was shattered not by a powerful, greedy, blood-thirsty king, but by a humble, self-sacrificing, blood-drained King. Fuel for the fire of audacious hope, power to carry the reverberation through eternity: His fire has a quiet light, his kindom is slowly coming.
Hope came in the deepest cry of Christ’s humanity: God! Why have you forsaken me? Papa! Where are you? I can’t see you. I can’t sense you. Come! Hope comes when we mimic his cry. When we don’t cover our authenticity in a mask of who we think we ought to be. When hope seems so very far away, it is our vulnerability that brings her close. Hope comes when we scream out to the God we believe (help-our-unbelief!) is ever-present but often isn’t sensed.
When the sky is falling, when the world is on fire, it is a child who teaches us to ask our father for a cold glass of water. It is a child who grows in awkwardness and grace into the Prince of Peace he always has been and ever will be. It is a child who reminds us to let the little children come in all their mess and humanity. A child will teach us to move to the reverberation of hope.
Gena Thomas lives with her husband, Andrew, and two kids in Tennessee. She’s a writer and a faith wrestler who works for a nonprofit equipping churches in holistic economic development.