Today’s guest is Chris Roe. His is the first post in the series, “Finding Hope in Our Stories”. He has been a friend of my husband’s for many years and has become a friend to me in the last few. He is one of those friends who’s not afraid to speak truth into my life, even when its the hard, ugly truth! The truth I need to hear. I love his honesty here in searching for hope in the uncertainty of life.
 



I have a dear friend lying in a hospital bed battling for every breath. Cystic fibrosis has robbed him, at the age of forty-two, of the ability to breathe on his own. I HOPE he doesn’t die…but he’s probably going to pretty soon. He’s fought valiantly, and I HOPE God will turn it around.

I have two kids, a six-year old son and a four-year old daughter. I HOPE they grow up into healthy, smart, well-adjusted, God-loving adults. I HOPE that they choose life-giving relationships in friends and partners.

I have a wife who is awesome. I HOPE we grow really old together and love each other fiercely until we die.

I run a ministry. I HOPE it makes an impact in the lives of  people.

I run a business. I HOPE it is profitable.

And I don’t know if any of it will come to pass.

I am sad that my friend is dying. I am nervous that my kids will be affected by the brokenness of our world, and especially my own in such a way that it interferes with what I HOPE for them. I am sometimes unsure of my lovableness (is that a word?) and try hard to prove myself to be worthy of my wife’s awesomeness. I guess, we should call that insecurity.

Most days I would much rather have assurances than hope. Guaranteed outcomes that involve the least amount of pain or even discomfort. And I’m not even going to try to tell you that what I really want is HOPE in the uncertainty.

I want certainty.

But I am not going to get it. Neither are you. That’s not the way this big fat gamble of life and love that is our existence works.

 

 
 

God told stories and made promises. Most of them we’ve been mis-taught for generations. We’ve been told if we do this then God will do that and life will be good, or at least better. His promises though seem to be not about outcomes, at least as we understand them, but rather about his presence in the midst of all these unfolding stories that I/we HOPE turn out alright. They seem to be about his care and comfort while we hold on to our ragged tatters of hope.

And it seems to help. It seems to heal. It seems to hold. So far at least…and as for the future…I HOPE it will then too.

Chris has experience as a favored son and a branded outcast in church. He’s a husband and a father. He’s a Sunday School dropout, and recovering from years of working really hard to be ‘good’. He’s been a college minister, a pastor, a sales manager with high blood pressure, a driving range flunky, a wanna-be blogger, and a non-profit founder/director (Encounter Ministries 2004). He’s been challenged to two fights in his life; one in a comedy club and one in a church after a prayer meeting. he spends his life fighting for the hearts of anyone who doesn’t yet fully believe that God loves them beyond their wildest dreams. You can connect with Chris on Twitter or through Encounter Ministries.

This article has 4 comments

  1. April Fiet Reply

    Chris, thank you for this. I deeply appreciate you speaking to that desire for certainty. I feel that way a lot, too, and this really reached me where I am.

  2. Kenny Pierce Reply

    This is heartfelt and poignant, Chris. I often see God being more a source of comfort, which was once explained to be translated in older times as "fortitude" or "strength to endure" than "warm fuzzies." Exactly what you say (a God who is with you where you are, and not so much about outcomes).

    Thank you so much for this.

  3. Chris Roe Reply

    UPDATE: In the short time since I wrote this post my friend passed away. He is survived by a beautiful daughter and wife. I now HOPE we can love them fiercely as they face this new stage of their life. If I am certain of my HOPE in anything it is LOVE…the God-powered force that pushes us toward each other to connect and care.

  4. Kenny Pierce Reply

    I am so sorry for the loss of your friend, and for that of his family. Your piece was a beautiful tribute to him, and to what keeps us going. May he rest in peace, and in God's light.

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