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Hope: There Are Better Things Ahead
As I was cleaning up and updating my blog layout (or at least attempting to) in preparation for my new Substack newsletters, I realized there were some evergreen themes I had previously written about that I wanted to revisit. The title of one post was from one of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotes, so I spent some time re-reading the 2017 post. In it, I talked about how hard things had happened that year, mixed in with some good. When I was re-reading my original post, I honestly laughed. It’s not that I’ve become a complete cynic, but I couldn’t remember what even happened in 2017 to inspire such a post (probably politics or something else happening in America, but I guess it’s a good thing if I can’t remember anything super personal or specific).
But more so because 2022 has legitimately been one of, if not the hardest of my life. I don’t say that for dramatics or for pity. It’s just been a personal hard year of loss, long waits for unknowns, and what feels like a long time in the valley. I know that’s vague, as I don’t often share a ton of details about my personal life online (and maybe one day I’ll write more about it), but I know looking back I won’t forget why I wrote a post like this one. I will remember exactly what I was referring to. And yes, there have been some wonderful things that happened, but I’m not sad that 2022 is over.
I started The Sisters of Seaview by Julie Klassen over Christmas break and it began with this verse:
“God, pick up the pieces. Put me back together again.” Jeremiah 17:14
I teared up reading it because Jeremiah’s words are my words, thousands of years after he penned them.
I teared up because I know that God hasn’t ignored my cries (even if it sometimes felt like that in times of long silence). And I know that this isn’t it…for any of us. Psalm 71:14 reads, “As for me, I will always have hope.” It’s that hope that held me together so often last year.
“There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.” C.S. Lewis
I have this quote hanging on a wall and it comes from one of Lewis’ letters to a reader. The full letter reads:
TO MARY WILLIS SHELBURNE: On how to rehearse for death and how to diminish fear.
17 June 1963
Pain is terrible, but surely you need not have fear as well? Can you not see death as the friend and deliverer? It means stripping off that body which is tormenting you: like taking off a hairshirt or getting out of a dungeon. What is there to be afraid of? You have long attempted (and none of us does more) a Christian life. Your sins are confessed and absolved. Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave it with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.
Remember, though we struggle against things because we are afraid of them, it is often the other way round—we get afraid because we struggle. Are you struggling, resisting? Don’t you think Our Lord says to you ‘Peace, child, peace. Relax. Let go. Underneath are the everlasting arms. Let go, I will catch you. Do you trust me so little?’
Of course, this may not be the end. Then make it a good rehearsal.
Yours (and like you a tired traveller near the journey’s end) Jack
From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III
I love reading this letter. No matter the trial (whether health or something else), I love the peace in knowing what ultimately awaits those who follow Christ. But it also encourages me to remember that when the trial ends here on earth, when I am able to climb out of the valley, I will come out all the more prepared for whatever life has waiting for me down the line. 2022 was a year of fires, but those fires also refined, molded, and taught me what it means to lean into Jesus. He never failed to remind my soul of the hope found in Him.
So whether you’ve had a hard year or if it was your best yet (and I genuinely love hearing about those), my prayer is that you start the year with renewed hope and hold on to the blessing found in Romans 15:13 (NIV):
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
© 2023 Jamie Lapeyrolerie