Hope is confidence in a bright future in the face of a dim present. Hope brightens our countenance and energizes our step. Below is a letter of spiritual direction I wrote to someone quite a few years back when they were facing some hopeless places:
There certainly could be some help in a change of scenery and vocation, but I’m not certain how lasting or satisfying it would be for you in the long run. I’m not telling you not to move or change jobs, but just that you not put too much of your hope there. In recent years, Gem and I have felt like we’re on an uphill climb and in an endurance contest. Reading the verse below out loud over and over has helped:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
Our great need at this place in our journey seems to be hope. Outward circumstances have come to look rather hopeless, but God is a God of hope who can fill us with “all joy” (our strength) and “all peace” (our rest and contentment). This happens as we look to Him again trusting and recognizing that He alone is our hope.
For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. (Romans 8:24-25)
This is the nature of hope. It involves unseen things, an uncertain future, and, in your case, no prospect of a partner in life. Hope deals in invisibles. It helps us most not in what we can see, but in what we can’t. It’s the “waiting patiently” that sometimes makes me feel like I’m running an ultra-marathon. This probably feels like mile twenty-something for you and everything in you wants to quit.
The hunger you’re describing is a deep one, I know. My own waiting places have become places where God seems to be inviting me to levels of surrender I hadn’t imagined would be necessary…or even possible for me a few years ago. I’m wondering if God is offering such an invitation to you.
As for the grey areas, I think we go there to fill the longings that seem to go unfulfilled day after day. These places of escape or temporary pleasure cause the inner pain to deepen rather than be healed. You don’t want to return to legalism, but you also don’t want to expose yourself to patterns that will pull you away from what is true life either. Freedom is always a tricky thing in that how we use it determines whether or not we keep it and grow it.
So you will be in my prayers…that the God of hope will fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, offer Yourself to Him, surrender to Him each place where you are tempted instead to cling to some “it” rather than to Him.