On Hope ...

Is it important to have hope in your life? When we are younger, we select certain things in our life to hang our desires on. I am loosely referring here to “hope.” For example, when I mention going to church to my 3 –year-old, I am almost certain that he pairs that up with good donuts and a particular set of toys in the kid’s room. On Friday’s my 7-year-old daughter looks forward to going to her grandparents’ house to see her cousins and to spend the night. She holds this in her consciousness all week, and by the time Thursday gets here, she is all but chomping at the bit.

But what about grown-ups? What about us? As we pass from this age of innocence and into a world often more difficult and less forgiving, we must still place our focus somewhere. Daily living is usually hard enough, and then from time to time we experience true suffering. If you haven’t experienced this loss or suffering yet, then go into your house, lock the door, and consider yourself lucky! So during our lulls when things aren’t so bad and we are going through day to day life, maybe some of us place our hope in material things like money, entertainment, -- or if we are lucky -- maybe even things like people and relationships. But what happens when things don’t go so well, and we find ourselves driving down the road less traveled, in a speeding car that we don’t want to be in? I think that if our hope is misplaced during the quiet lulls, then it is harder to find God during the storms. Why is this? Because often the fulfillment of hope comes from the partnership with God that occurs during the average every-day times, in addition to the difficult times. He wants our attention all the time.

When we pin our dreams and desires to material or natural things only, and these items finally do disappear (whether it be through suffering, or some other means whereupon these things are taken from us), we become lost. If Jesus is our light ALL the time, then when the Dark of Night comes, we have direction instead of confusion. Notice I didn’t say happiness. Happiness is situationally dependant. If you total your new car, you aren’t going to be happy – no matter if you know God or not. But you can still have Joy. Joy is different. Your hope is placed correctly in the Creator. Good times or bad, God is still God.

I’m not sure what people do without God in their lives. I don’t say this in an arrogant or boastful way. I had spent much of my own life refusing to look into the deeper truths of the Gospel, and when I finally did accept a relationship with God, it was a night and day difference. I’m not going back to that other life; you can't make me! Where was my hope prior to this providence? Matthew chapter 12 tells us about Christ that “in his name nations will put their hope.” Is this just lip service? It is my great joy to celebrate God in both the good times (when I am driving around with a full tank of gas and a happy family), as well as the bad times (when sickness and difficulty make their home with me). Is your own Hope well placed? Is what you look to for comfort on a good day, enough to sustain you on a bad one?



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