Good Friday: When All Hope Feels Lost

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I was sinking into a dull depression. Nothing was good and life seemed gray. Every single day.

I cried at the slightest provocation and sometimes with no provocation at all. I was falling into a black hole, and felt powerless to stop my descent.

My life had fallen apart and there was no repairing it. Everywhere I turned, things were hard.

This was one of the lowest points in my life. I was struggling to believe that God was good. That He loved me. That my situation would ever change.

I felt desperate.

My friends tried to help me as best they could. Bringing me food, praying with me, encouraging me to press on.

But despite their best efforts, I felt overwhelmed. Discouraged. Hopeless. No one could fully understand my pain.

No one can ever truly know another’s sorrow. Our sorrow is unique to us. And each of us must walk our path alone.

I was talking with some friends about how I was feeling. I didn’t really want to talk, but I knew that talking to friends was important. Especially when I wanted to pull away.

Soon after we started, I couldn’t speak anymore. I just sat there, crying.

After a long silence, one friend spoke. I will never forget her words.

“When I think of you and pray for you, I keep seeing this image. It’s of the disciples, and Jesus’ mother Mary, weeping at the foot of the cross. They are huddled together, trying to comfort each other. Trying to make sense of what has happened. But it just doesn’t make sense.

The sky is black and all hope looks lost. Their dreams have died. It seems that nothing good will ever come from this.

To them, this day, Good Friday, is the darkest day they’ve ever known.

But the one thing that they do not know is … Easter is coming.”

Easter is coming.

I could scarcely take in the words.

As she was finished speaking, I was filled with an indescribable peace.

Of course. Easter is coming.

I stopped crying.

Her picture was arresting. As I imagined how the disciples and Mary must have felt, I felt a bond with them. They knew what it was like to feel desperate. Dreams shattered. Life ruined. Plans destroyed.

At that point they could only see part of the picture. The part they were living at the time. That’s all they had.

That’s all I could see. The raw circumstances that surrounded me. The endless dark.

I couldn’t see how God could bring anything good out of my situation. But as I let her words wash over me, I realized that my story wasn’t over yet. The end wasn’t written. God was not finished.

God does miraculous things. Even when all hope seems lost.

My friend’s words brought me inexpressible comfort, both then and now. I’ve clung to those words, that picture, for years.

That picture was God’s gift to me. To put my life in perspective. To show me I wasn’t alone. To give me hope.

I realized that my suffering was temporary; one day it would be over. My suffering had meaning; it would not be wasted. My suffering could glorify God; it would ultimately be good.

My life doesn’t feel like it did that day, and God has given me untold joy even in difficult circumstances. I am reminded of Josh Wilson’s song, “Before the Morning,” where he says:

Do you wonder why you have to
Feel the things that hurt you
If there’s a God who loves you
Where is He now?

Maybe there are things you can’t see
And all those things are happening
To bring a better ending
Someday, somehow you’ll see, you’ll see

Would you dare, would you dare, to believe
That you still have a reason to sing
Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling
It can’t compare to the joy that’s coming
So hold on, you gotta wait for the light
Press on and just fight the good fight
Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling
It’s just the dark before the morning

The lyrics remind me that we have no idea what God is doing with the struggles in our lives. It may be that the pain we’re feeling right now is just the dark before the morning.

I don’t know where you are in your life this Good Friday.

But I want to rejoice with you in this:

Easter is coming!



photo courtesy of Jonathan Davidar
  • April 17, 2014 - 10:16 pm

    Amy Duncan - Thank you, Vaneetha. This is exactly what I need to hear tonight.ReplyCancel

  • April 18, 2014 - 9:22 am

    Elise Demboski - Vaneetha,
    Through your pain you have brought joy and light to so many….including myself. You made me realize that pain and heartbreak can be used for good. I don’t have to be scared of the “what ifs” because God is with me through it all and, if I open myself to Him – like you have done with your life – I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
    Love you!
    Happy Easter!ReplyCancel

  • April 18, 2014 - 1:11 pm

    Jennifer - This is one of the most powerful and beautiful things I have ever read. You have no idea how much hope and inspiration your words have given to me today. I really needed this. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.ReplyCancel

    • April 18, 2014 - 2:33 pm

      Vaneetha - So thankful the Lord used this, Jennifer!ReplyCancel

      • April 18, 2014 - 3:24 pm

        Jennifer - :>) I forgot to say that while I was reading this I kept thinking of the Josh Wilson song, before I even got to the bottom. I love the line in that song that “Life is not a snapshot.” I got tears in my eyes when I saw that you had included the words to that exact song.ReplyCancel

  • April 19, 2014 - 10:19 pm

    Donna - This is what an Easter-God is all about. Amen and amen. To God be the glory!ReplyCancel

  • April 23, 2014 - 9:56 am

    Jim Reed - Reminded me of this video…

    A worthwhile investment in time to read as always Vaneetha…thanks.ReplyCancel

    • April 23, 2014 - 10:07 am

      Vaneetha - Great video. Thanks for sharing it Jim. Such a great reminder!ReplyCancel

  • April 23, 2014 - 8:37 pm

    J0osterhouse - I read this poem today and when I think of compassion from the blessing of tears I am reminded compassion comes with the price of being hurt. One gift is compassion.

    Thank you for sharing your pain… is the poem written by Saint Isaac, translated by Scott Carins

    Merciful Heart

    The heart’s pulsing ache – oh to have
    that same heart’s burning
    for persons, for birds, all manner
    of animal, and even for the demons.
    At the remembrance
    and at the sight of all such creatures,
    the merciful man’s eyes
    fill with tears which rise with a great, increasing
    compassion that wells
    and urges his heart,
    so that it grows ever
    more tender and cannot endure any
    harm or slightest sorrow
    for anything found
    in creation. Such a man
    is ceaseless in tear-attended prayer,
    even now, and even for
    irrational animals,
    and for enemies of truth,
    and for all who harm it, that they may be both
    guarded and forgiven.
    (copyright 2007 by Scott Cairns)ReplyCancel

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