This past year has been crazy for us! I'm sure it has been crazy for you too and you may feel like you are losing hope.

During the week before COVID interrupted and changed all of our lives, Tami and I were preparing for a Tandem Marriage mentoring weekend with another couple. We love these weekends since they are a perfect balance of bike-riding along the beach, mentoring a sweet couple, eating some amazing food, and laughing a great deal together.

In the middle of packing for this trip, we received a difficult phone call from a longtime friend in Arizona. You see, for the previous few years, we had been walking through terminal cancer with this friend and this current phone call signaled that the end of her life was near. Tami and I cancelled our mentoring weekend, canceled our remaining work schedules, unpacked our mentoring weekend suitcases, repacked our suitcase for a very different kind of trip, and drove to Arizona.

Our poor friend declined rapidly that week. It was an emotionally difficult week with many ups and downs. In the end, Tami and I both felt so honored to have spent some of her last days on earth with this dear friend and her family. That kind of goodbye is one of the hardest I have ever experienced.

Once Tami and I started our 5-hour drive home, we knew we needed to quickly shift to the ”global pandemic” we had been hearing about as we held the hand of our dying friend. Since we own and manage a group counseling practice with about 18 people on staff, we also knew they were looking to us for some needed guidance in navigating COVID implications with both our staff and clients alike. With the help of some accurate information and a team that rarely wavers, we we able to quickly make quite a few changes that would serve us well as we moved even deeper into the pandemic. 

Just as it seemed we were catching our breath, we got some more news that would impact us for quite some time. Tami‘s dad had been struggling with his health off and on for several years. These ups and downs had us both unknowingly adopting a, “Sheesh, what now?“ sort of mindset to all that we were dealing with, but something seemed different this time. Tami’s dad died a few weeks later. 

More COVID updates brought the news that we would not be out of this pandemic for some time still — maybe into the next year! While we retooled our business and personal practices to see us through a longer-than-expected pandemic, another dear friend died. And there were no funerals or memorials to honor any of these profound influences on our lives. Which also means, grieving and closure was hard to come by so we had to learn to be intentional about doing both. 

If you are getting tired of reading this tale of woe, it may be because you have been through your own trials and disappointments over the last year. We all know that trials and disappointments are merely a part of life, but they have seemed unrelenting in the last year. Throw in some politicians who play politics better than they manage cities, states, or countries and it’s no wonder so many people have completely lost hope. 

Thankfully, that is not the end of the story and it never will be. We do have a creator God who created us, loves us, and never fails us. God not only taught us about death, but predicted that we would all experience it at some point. Knowing that this life is not all there is, gives us hope that our current trials and disappointments are not all there is. Not by a long-shot. We have hope because death is never the end for those who know God and trust him with their lives. We have hope because a comfortable life with lots of stuff should not be the goal for a well-lived life, instead eternity with our creator is the goal of a well-lived life. 

In the midst of all that has happened in the last year, we have experienced profound hope. We see it in our friends and family that continue to love, show grace, and serve when it has become harder than ever to do so. We see hope in the fact that while we have been promised nothing in this life, we have so much more than nothing. We have rich relationships, opportunities to work and serve others, and the freedom to laugh as often as we are able. That, my friends, is the kind of hope worth living for!

If you have never known this kind of hope before, let me invite you to read The Gospel of John from The Bible. The Gospel of John is a story written to a group of people much like us who needed to understand the hope that became available to us when God sent His son to live like us, to know us, and to die to save us from ourselves. You can read or download your own copy here: The Gospel of John.

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By Brad & Tami Miller. Contact us at Copyright © 2021

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