Tim Clinton, Ed.D.
“Speak Lord, because I am listening! I don’t want to hear any other voice but Yours, the voice of truth. The words You speak to my heart are powerful and convicting. You are telling me that I can do it…that I can make the finish line! The Lord is telling me to run to Him Who is waiting with open arms. The Lord is waiting to come to my rescue! Amen. Thank you, Daddy!”
— Jen Barrick in Hope out Loud
Hope. The concept may be one of the least understood, and yet most common phrases we hear. “I hope I get that job.” “I hope today is better than yesterday.” “I hope it doesn’t rain on our parade.” Somehow, that is not the feeling that I get when I read Jen’s prayer. Her prayer of hope is much deeper. Much more active. Hope birthed through pain and trial…
At age 15, Jen was involved in a horrible head-on car crash. A drunk driver going around 80 miles per hour hit the family van and, as a result, she suffered a severe Traumatic Brain Injury. Before that tragic day, Jen was blossoming into a beautiful young woman. She loved God with all of her heart. She read His word every morning and memorized many verses. Then, in an instant, she was changed into a broken girl, in a deep coma, struggling for life. The doctors warned her family that even if she did emerge from the coma in a timely manner, she would be different. Probably angry and irritable, cursing and crying.That’s why it was a miracle when, even in the coma, she would start praying out loud in the middle of the night. And, as she did begin to come out of the coma, before she could even recognize her own mother, brother or dad, Jen started quoting Scripture out loud.
Jen will never be the same. She will never do most of the things that she used to do. But she radiates with God’s presence. The prayer quoted above is from her journal that she wrote after the accident. Full of hope. Full of trust. Full of God.
Isaiah 40:31 says “but those who HOPE in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”(NIV) In the Hebrew, the word is qavah (kaw-vaw) and means “to bind together by twisting”. This is not a sit back and “hope” something happens. The word here speaks of “hope” in action, and yet, it is not about activity. This is not the flurry we so often get caught up in of trying to make things happen. Rather, the energy in this kind of hope is found in deep, intimate, uninhibited communication with God. Intertwining ourselves with Him. Immersed in His presence. Now read the verse again…those who “bind themselves to God by intertwining themselves with Him”, will renew their strength. Wow, the verse takes on a new life does it not?
Your story may not hold the pain that Jen’s does. Or it may. It really doesn’t matter. This kind of hope is offered to all who will journey with God. Bound to Him. Intertwined. A hope that will turn your life around.
Tim Clinton, Ed. D., LPC, LMFT (The College of William and Mary) is President of the nearly 50,000-member American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), the largest and most diverse Christian counseling association in the world. He is Professor of Counseling and Pastoral Care, and Executive Director of the Center for Counseling and Family Studies at Liberty University. Licensed in Virginia as both a Professional Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist, Tim now spends a majority of his time working with Christian leaders and professional athletes. He is recognized as a world leader in faith and mental health issues and has authored over 20 books including Breakthrough: When to Give In, When to Push Back. Most importantly, Tim has been married 36 years to his wife Julie and together they have two children, Megan, who is married to Ben Allison and is practicing medicine in dermatology, and Zach, who plays baseball at Liberty University. In his free time, you’ll find him outdoors or at a game with family and friends.