Yesterday was Palm Sunday. Easter is less than a week away, a day of hope and new beginnings. But before the resurrection came the crucifixion which brought a lot of loss, betrayal, confusion and unanswered questions. These adjectives describe the state of our world today, doesn’t it?
Is a family member or a friend terminally ill? Have you lost your job? Are you worried about your business, our country’s future or the war in Ukraine…in addition to your child’s welfare; which was already more than you could bear and now all this!
Maybe you are the parent of a teen or adult who isn’t doing well—they’ve struggled for years. Are they imploding (or exploding) during this season of uncertainty? Is your story complicated and way too long to tell in one sitting? You can’t help how you feel. You’re in a lot of emotional pain and you’re losing hope.
Any hope you once had is depleted…slipping away.
WHAT IS THERE TO HOPE FOR NOW?
You may find yourself in one of these groups: your beloved child is incarcerated or has a substance use disorder (SUD). They’ve damaged themselves with self-harm. They continuously inflict wounds on their body or have an eating disorder (another form of self-harm). Mental illness and
suicide attempts might be what plagues them. In and out of rehabs, their battle and the accompanying trauma never ends.
They’ve made countless terrible mistakes including ruined marriages or same-sex relationships; now there may be grandchildren in the picture. Their troubles have brought you more brokenness and heartache than you ever thought possible.
Your heart is shattered. You’re holding on to your own sanity by a thread and that thin string is frayed, about to come apart for good.
What is there to hope for now?
How much more you can take?
Your heart cries out, “How long, O God?” You see no way anything good could come from all that’s happened. Everything looks ruined. You feel lifeless, stuck in a darkened tomb with a huge stone blocking the only way out. And it stinks in there—like death.
What can you do? Try these four suggestions. They helped me:
1. Keep praying and trusting God.
He is the Great Physician, the relentless Hound of Heaven.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart… (Proverbs 3:5 NIV); … I am the LORD, who heals you (Exodus 15:26 NIV)
2. Be honest with yourself, with God, and a few safe people.
Let out your pain. He sees. He knows. He cares about your suffering.
When I said, ‘”My foot is slipping,” your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul”(Psalms 94: 18-19 NIV).
3. Never give up. Ever.
Your child’s resurrection day could be close! We’re given no guarantees of how things will end, but we can be certain of one thing: God will never stop seeking them or giving them second, third, fourth…endless chances. His hand remains extended toward them long past when ours would drop.
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me (John 14:1 NIV).
4. Remember who God is, what He’s done in the past, and what He can do in the future.
He can do anything to fulfill His plans. Whatever it takes. He is able. After all, He has the power to raise the dead.
I have come that they may have life and have it to the full (John 10:10 NIV).
I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live (John 11:25 NIV).
As long as your child is still breathing, there’s still hope!
He can raise you up again too. He can lift you out of the ashes of hopelessness, despair, and sadness.
Dear friends, HOPE ON.
This next Bible verse reminds me where my encouragement comes from. It’s not pie-in-the-sky, wishful thinking. My hope comes from God. My hope is in Him. It IS Him.
Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope (Psalms 119:49 NIV).
Use this prayer as your own: O God, please renew my hope this Easter week. My whole world feels darker and more hopeless than usual. This is taking a toll on my already beat up emotions. Help me hold on to the belief that because Jesus suffered, died on the cross for the sins of the whole world, and was raised to life, my child can have a new beginning–so can I. But if I don’t see them turn to you in my lifetime, please raise me up from the tomb of despair I’ve fallen into, so that I can live into the victory You won at Calvary…today and all the days of my life. In Your resurrection power. Amen.
If you need some fresh encouragement today, you might like my book:
You Are Not Alone: Hope for Hurting Parents of Troubled Kids (available from our website or most book retailers)
Or you might prefer this one:
The Hope of a Homecoming by Brendan O’Rourke and DeEtte Sauer. You can order it from our website. If you do, a small portion of your purchase will help our ministry.