The lyric of My Hope is a statement of faith, pure and simple. When you stare at a circumstance that is irreconcilable, and frankly, unimaginable, you have a unique opportunity to see deep into your system of belief. This opportunity presented itself to my family and me many years ago in the form of a precious little girl and a hideous enemy called cancer.
My son and I spent an afternoon visiting 3 year old, Aria Lams, at her house in southern California. We were on a mission to cheer up our cherished little friend who’d been experiencing persistent pain in her joints, low grade fevers, and multiple trips to the Dr. for blood draws. The next morning we received news that the previous days draw revealed the presence of leukemia. A seven-year battled ensued that ended with Aria’s passing into Glory in the fall of 2004.
Those years of battling with our dear friends redefined life for me on nearly every level. There came a day, several years into Aria’s illness, when her mom and I were having lunch together in a café in Pasadena. I remember, for the first time, articulating what God had been showing me as I struggled, without success, to understand why Aria was plagued with this disease.
God showed me clearly, there are irreconcilable realities that exist, day in and day out. But far more important, is the reality that God actively exists in the midst of it. God is in the business of restoration and hope and healing. He’s in the business of bringing light into dark places. He desires that all, who are created in His image, be in relationship with Him through Jesus. He is the giver of life and hope. Neither exists apart from Him. This reality didn’t relieve the anguish of what was happening to Aria, her family or to those of us who dearly loved them. But it kept hopelessness and despair at bay. God is our hope, “in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water”, Psalm 63: 1.
Aria died, not yet 11 years old. Her graveside service was perhaps the most excruciating moment of my life. You cannot reconcile a child-size casket with the body of a little girl you love inside of it. You cannot reconcile it being lowered into the ground and covered with the earth. You cannot reconcile the death of dreams. And if this life was all there was, I would be raging still. But I know without doubt that there is hope of something to come. And I know for certain that Aria lives. She lives a life in total freedom, abandoned to her True Love, cared for by God Himself, running free in the gardens of heaven. She feels no pain. Her memories hold no sway over her other than to point to the Object of her Love. She is dancing in His presence and He is dancing too.
I stand in awe within the presence of the Lord
In whom the wisdom of the ages lies
For whom the raging of the sea subsides
The living sacrifice, the only source of life
My hope is in the Lord from this time on and evermore
My hope is in the Lord forevermore
His tender mercies come with every rising sun
To meet the sinner in his brokenness
To offer healing and forgiveness
And those who trust in Him will find their hearts at rest
(My Hope – Anne Barbour © Barbour Cuts Music)