Never Lose Hope
She was full of sorrow as she knelt by the grave site. The flowers she placed there lay among the brambles which had already begun to grow in front of the celtic cross serving as the tombstone. Memories came flooding back to her, and the Angel of Mourning knew she had failed.
“You must help the young woman find hope again. If she does not, her soul will be lost,” the Angel of Assignments cautioned her.
“But, Sir, how will I do that?” Genevieve asked, hoping the older Angel would help her.
“It is for you to discover.” The Angel of Assignments turned away to help the next angel.
Genevieve had no idea how to accomplish the task set before her, but she knew she must find a way. The young woman’s soul must be saved.
Genevieve knew the young woman’s name was Sophia. She was 37 years of age, married to a man named Mark, and was the mother of two sons, Thomas and Daniel, and one daughter, Ruth.
Sophia was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She was residing in the cancer wing of the local hospital, where the nurses were making her as comfortable as possible. The doctors could not cure her, and Sophia was devastated. In her mind, all hope was lost. A tempest was brewing in Sophia’s soul, and she felt as though God had abandoned her.
Genevieve flew to Earth as fast as her wings could carry her, for she knew there was no time to waste. When she entered Sophia’s hospital room, she found Sophia alone, lying on her side, sobbing uncontrollably. It was plain to see the poor woman was sick at heart as she wept into her pillow. If only Genevieve could console her and help her to know that all was not lost. She must help Sophia know that even though her life on Earth was coming to an end, everlasting life awaited her soul.
Usually angels such as herself did not make themselves known to humans, but this was an extreme circumstance, and urgent as well. Genevieve decided to exercise her best judgment and make an exception in this case.
“Sophia.” Genevieve appeared at the foot of the bed.
Because Sophia was sobbing, she could not hear Genevieve at first.
“Sophia.” Genevieve said again, louder this time.
Sophia turned onto her back. Then she opened her eyes and saw Genevieve. She blinked a few times, rubbed her eyes, and looked at Genevieve again.
“Who are you?” she asked incredulously.
“My name is Genevieve. I am an angel of the Lord, and I am here to help you.”
“Angel? God has sent me an angel? Why?”
“Because you have lost hope. I am here to help you find it again.”
“There is no hope for me. I am going to die. God doesn’t care about me.”
Sophia turned onto her side, not looking at Genevieve any longer.
“But there is hope, Sophia. You must believe. I know you feel as though God has abandoned you, but actually He is waiting for you to come home to Him. He misses you, Sophia. He wants you to be with Him now. He loves you.”
“But what about my family? What about my children? They will have no mother. They don’t deserve that. Why is God doing this to them? Doesn’t God love them?”
Genevieve moved to the side of the bed.
“Yes, Sophia, God does love them. He loves us all. But “to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven; a time to be born, and a time to die.”1 It is your time to be with Him; it is their time to stay on Earth. One day they will be with you again, I promise, but only if you have hope, Sophia, only if you have hope.”
“Hope will not raise my children!” Sophia screamed. She began sobbing again. Genevieve placed her hand on Sophia’s shoulder in order to comfort her, but Sophia shrugged it off.
“Get away from me! Get out! I don’t want you here! I don’t want to listen to you anymore! Get out! Get out!” Sophia screamed. A nurse burst into the room.
“It’s all right, my dear, it’s all right,” she said soothingly as she stroked Sophia’s hair.
A tear rolled down Genevieve’s cheek. Downcast, she left Sophia’s room.
“Well,” said the Angel of Assignments, “How did it go, Genevieve?”
“Sir, I did my best, but I could not help Sophia find hope. She would not listen.”
“This is unfortunate, indeed. Her time is nearly up. I am afraid her soul will be lost, all because she does not have hope.” The angel looked sadly at Genevieve.
“It is all my fault, Sir. I feel responsible,” Genevieve bowed her head.
“All you can do is your best and hope you’ve succeeded. You, too, must have hope.”
Genevieve was there when Sophia died in the early hours before dawn. Her husband and children were at home sleeping when she passed on. She was all alone and without hope. The end was bitter for her. She no longer believed in the goodness of God. She no longer believed in everlasting life. She no longer believed in hope.
Now as Genevieve knelt by her grave site, she, too felt despair. If only she could have reached Sophia; if only she could have given her hope. Then she remembered something that was far in the back of her mind, something which she had heard long ago, something which had given her hope: “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and sings the tunes without the words, and never stops at all.”2
Genevieve made the decision to let her soul continue to sing the tunes without words. She would never stop hoping, because “When the world says, Give up, Hope whispers, try it one more time.”3
1 Ecclesiastes 3:1-2
2 Emily Dickinson
3 Author Unknown