In my head, my first thought about hope is its like a wish. Like "make a wish upon a star" or "hope they have my favorite froyo at Yogurt U!" or "hope the traffic's not bad or I'll be late!"... But part of me thinks that there has to be more to it than that...
Obviously, the first thing I did was google it - we (my trusty friend google and I) are best buds forever! As some of you know, that's not really a joke but anyways...
I came across some interesting ones.
Hope means to : wish for something with expectation of its fulfillment.
: to have confidence in; to trust.
: to look forward to with confidence.
: to expect and desire.
: to be optimistic; to be full of hope.
Seems that hope has this involvement, this interaction that just wishing is missing. Its not just a thought or a side comment or a mumble under my breath but a verb, its an action, it requires a part of me to happen. Hope is not fleeting but instead there is a element of stability, of perseverance, of commitment that is missing in just a wish. Hope is an active choice rather than an assumption. The more I've been thinking about it, the more I'm recognizing that maybe hope plays a significant role in who I am. Maybe how I hope and what I hope in is key to who the Lord is in me.
Hope defered makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
- Proverbs 13:2Its a hard verse. The first part has a sense of desperation to it almost. I don't know about you but I don't want my heart to be sick, its not quite on my 'to do list'... The definitions above don't at first lead me to believe that the confident expectation or desire of something will lead my heart into troubled waters. And yet, I know that this is usually where my stubborn heart leads me - you too maybe?
It seems to me that maybe we - the human race - have this desire, this innate ability to hope. And yet it's not until our hope has been violated or abused that makes us into the un-trusting and self protecting adults we seem to have to be to survive in this dog-eat-dog world we live in. We all have those moments that come to mind of the disappointments, the rejections, the not-met expectations, the loss of trust or intimacy, the broken heart
- the failures of ourselves and of others.
A friend had some really good questions, they sum up what I've been thinking about..
"Why do we defer hope? Why would we shy away from something that can bring us happiness and peace?"
To defer is referring to the postponing of something. When something we hope for - a person, a circumstance, an answer, etc. - is delayed, not made evident in our timing (big one right) or is snatched away too soon for us is when the questions start rolling in and the doubt begins sinking little to deeply into our hearts.
But we also have a role in deferring hope. We can chose to walk away, we can wobble and let bitterness seep in instead of the stability that hope needs from us. I can grab onto distrust or the loss of things hoped for and un-met expectations from my past instead of being in the present.
Anger, pain, insecurities, loss, lack a patience, frustration, bitterness, fear, feelings of unworthiness, discouragement, loss of trust, un-met exceptions... I can defer hope because these things seek up and make themselves known. I can chose fear and discouragement instead of believing the worthiness and importance of my hope.
I think sometimes we can be so immersed in obstacles, in frustration or just not understanding what's going on that what we are hoping for becomes a bit fuzzy and goes a little out of focus. I can lose sight and waver because my hope is seemingly so far away - so I step back to prevent myself from being disappointed and my heart let down.
But hope asks for me to walk into it when adversity comes against it. Hope has me not run away when something looks different then the way I had it in my mind. Hope asks me to trust - myself and the Lord in ways that I might never have before. Hope demands a response and calls forth courage. Hope begs for confidence and pleas for patience.
And so when the hope I'm trying to hold onto seems to be slipping from my weak fingers, maybe I need to just breath and take the next step forward. Maybe I need to not focus on the many things I lack or insecurities, and look to the steadiness of the Lord's promises. Maybe when the confusion and disappointments hit, I need to chose confidence and patience. Maybe when my little brain just doesn't get it, I need to trust that He knows my heart so much more intimately then I know it and that He has it all together even if I don't. Maybe when the dam of doubt ruptures, I can depend on Him wanting a life filled to the brim for me. And when the ache seems too much, I can remember how He has never left me alone and that I am utterly and deeply loved. And maybe when it all seems like too much and not enough at the same time, I can see how He is giving me just enough, only enough to chose Him.
I came across this is Jesus Calling this morning, He has a funny sense of humor - reminding me that I will have enough to take the next step with Him, keeping me by His side and in His timing inside of marching out over the cliff on my own..
"Follow Me one step at a time... If I do lead you up the cliffs, I will equip you thoroughly for the strenuous climb. I will even give My angels charge over you, to preserve you in all your ways."
How my heart wants to soak up the promise that He is enough. I want to know hope. I want to be a person of hope. I want to move forward in confident hope. I want to live my life in the hope of being redeemed.