Hope lives here. Even here.

Hope lives here. Even here.

The idea can change everything.

Even in the surgical waiting room. Even when your application for a mortgage is rejected. Even in the hospice room. Even in the throes of another battle with a wayward child.

I first worded it that way—Hope lives here. Even here.—when creating a centerpiece chalkboard for a table by the fireplace in As Waters Gone By’s Wild Iris Inn—an imaginary establishment on the very real Madeline Island. The proprietess of the inn communicated a simple message to her patrons. One in particular—a woman who thought hope had fled when her life fell apart.

She—like many of us—assumed the emotional, financial, and relationship downturns in her life spelled the absence of hope. She’d read, but couldn’t keep her grip on the truth of Job 11:16 NIV—

“The day will come when your troubles will appear as waters gone by.”

Yesterday, I spent hours creating blackboards with the Hope lives here. Even here. message in chalk paint. Some will become giveaways, or door prizes. Or Christmas presents. Every new one I started drove the truth deeper into my heart. For the person who trusts Christ, hope’s heart muscle continues to beat even in the ugliest of circumstances or the darkest corners of concern.

Hope Lives Here

I can picture one of the blackboards hanging on the nursery door of a home waiting for an adoption to be finalized. Or waiting for the red tape of an international adoption to disintegrate and signal, “Come and get her/him/them!”

I envision a Hope lives here. Even here. blackboard hanging on the wall of the oncology waiting room. Or in the foyer of the safehouse. Or near the kidney dialysis machine. Or sitting on the desk of the funeral director. Yes, even here.

On the mirror of the woman waiting for her husband or son to return from deployment, or be released from prison.

Stamped on the bottom of the divorce decree.

As a paperweight on the stack of bills only God could shrink.

That’s the thing about hope. It’s not dependent on a concern-free life. It thrives in the unlikeliest environments. Its reason for existing becomes clearest when life stinks.

Hope lives here. Even here. If I can’t see it now, I have two options—look harder, or snuggle up closer to God. The light’s better there.