A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Only Hope Remains

Note: This is a repost from my SongBlog that I thought abuse survivors might find encouraging.

Hallmark Christianity — it’s everywhere from billboards, mailers, Christian music, to the pews (or chairs!) on Sunday morning. If you would ask an outside observer to describe what Christianity looks like based on the images we project, I suspect the answer would be quite saccharine — shiny happy people doing shiny happy things. And heaven forbid that anyone would have a tough time of it.

And we go through great lengths to project this image — not just outward but inward. I think a lot of what goes on in the name of encouragement is us working out the great questions of faith for ourselves. Everything needs to be explainable and everything needs to have an answer. So when there is some kind of struggle, we have to speak some kind of truth into the lives of those who are struggling so we are certain everything makes sense.

The result is that we feel out of line when we have a sadface. There has to be some REASON that life isn’t going perfectly, doesn’t there? That we don’t have perfect happiness, because of course Jesus is in our hearts, right? And when someone else is going through the muck, it’s hard not to be the voice of explanation — to tell them how to make sense of things — as if bringing understanding would lessen the pain.

But is explanation the answer the Bible gives for pain? Does Jesus spend a great deal of time telling us the remedies for all of life’s pain or why bad things happen? In fact, the question of why bad things happen largely isn’t answered in scripture; but one thing IS given to us: a sufferER. That’s right, Jesus came and suffered an agonizing death. God was not happy to just stay above the fray and let us suffer alone: he participated in the effects of sin and experienced it himself. He empathized, he experienced. And SOMETIMES he even explained, but not always.

So all of that is why I wrote this song. Though there will be no end to well-meaning Christians available to explain what is going on or unveil the mysteries of God in our our painful seasons of life, I want to encourage us all to remember that we do better to focus on hope. We wait on God and let him move, walking in whatever light he gives us. This doesn’t mean we ignore or don’t acknowledge the pain. Pretending that pain doesn’t exist doesn’t make it go away, it just means we are misrepresenting the truth. But pain and suffering WILL pass away. Hope will outlast all evil, and that should bring us no small measure of joy. Not shiny, happy outward joy, but joy deep down in our souls. And that kind of joy is what helps us REALLY smile through the tears.

At the end of my rope, I’m losing this fight
I can’t see straight I’m stumbling and I’ve lost my sight
I guess I should feel joy and rise above this mess
But I can’t lie and I won’t put on a mask of righteousness
And they say God is moving
But I will stay right here and wait for You

I still hope and I still pray
I’ll be holding on for yet another day
I still feel hurt and I still feel pain
But only hope remains

So I wait, I wait for You
Still I wait, yes I’m waiting for you

I force myself to stand and smile through these tears
Pain I feel but life You give there’s a reason I am here
It’s a matter of the heart, an exercise of faith
I don’t need to know Your plan I only need to seek Your face

You are always moving
And I am so much further than before

I still hope and I still pray
I’ll be holding on for yet another day
I still feel hurt and I still feel pain
But only hope remains

They see purpose that I don’t see
They give me reason that I don’t need
They tell me things that I should believe
But I will only wait

I still hope and I still pray
I’ll be holding on for yet another day
I still feel hurt and I still feel pain
But only hope remains

So I wait, I wait for You
Still I wait, yes I’m waiting for you
I wait for You
Still I wait, yes I’m waiting for you

4 Comments

  1. Amy

    Beautiful song! Could have been my theme song these past few years. 🙂
    And yet I suppose it will always be my theme song throughout this life.
    Thank you for sharing.

  2. katy

    ugh i struggle with periodically losing all hope. that’s the worst place to be in! great song Jeff 🙂

  3. KingsDaughter

    Oh! Jeff, this is beautiful!
    “God was not happy to just stay above the fray and let us suffer alone”
    You get it! It is such a privilege to be among people who “get it”!
    I’m not sure if it is because of the special calling and sensitivity survivors have that the enemy targets them and they end up being victims of abuse OR if it is a sensitivity that is developed through being abused… either way, the real true heart that reflects The Father’s love for His people is evident here!
    I can’t tell you how much I needed this tonight!

  4. Jeff Crippen

    I went to seminary only after having already served as a pastor for 10 years, eight of which were miserable and more misery was yet to come. As I related my experiences in seminary classes – most of which consisted of younger students with starry-eyed aspirations of vision-casting and leading their church to heights never achieved – I always felt a definite “why do you have to be so negative? Please don’t talk about those things” attitude, especially on the part of the faculty. So already these future church leaders were being taught how to put on that happy face and smile, smile, smile.

    By now I have no doubt that most of them have crashed and burned out of the ministry.

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