Do you ever have periods of time when you are confronted over and over with a scripture and after about the 2nd or 3rd time you stop and wonder what God is trying to tell you? Well, maybe it doesn’t take you that long, but I’m a little slow. God does that for me every now and then. But this time, for the last couple of months, it’s been just one word: Hope.
I’ve seen it in scripture that others have posted or sent to me, I’ve heard it in songs, I even saw it on a bumper sticker the other day. (Even after I had written this but before I published it, I clicked over to one of my favorite blogs, More Than Coping, and looked at the latest post of one of my favorite devotionals, Streams In the Desert. Check out the picture that greeted me when I scrolled down to the post. The devotion is very appropriate, too. Streams in the Desert always speaks to my heart.) And every time that word sticks out far beyond the others like it’s in 3D or something. After my Long and Winding Road of a life, hope’s not something that comes easy for me, particularly after a month like last month.
February was a month I’d just as soon forget. The minute one painfully exhausting trial was over, (and many of them overlapped), another one would crop up, and it went that way all the way to the very end of the month. So much happened that it’s left me physically and emotionally weary, even downright discouraged and somewhat disillusioned. I’ll get it back, but right now I just feel like I have nothing left. (Is that the point?)
And yet that word keeps popping up.
Sometimes a word like that seems like it’s being dangled just out of your reach, like a carrot in front of a donkey. You can’t quite grasp it, and yet you keep chasing it. Hope against hope as they say.
But through everything, God is telling me to have hope. That I can have hope. But daring to have hope can sometimes be a precarious thing. God is unpredictable and beyond comprehension. He says His ways are above our ways and that we won’t understand them. I heartily agree with Him there. I don’t know if any of it will ever make any sense. But in Romans 5:2-5, I catch a glimpse of one purpose in these trials, and that it is not to take away my hope, but rather to work hope into my heart.
“Through Him we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice on the hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we glory in afflictions also, knowing that afflictions work out patience, and patience works out experience, and experience works out hope. And hope does not make us ashamed, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us.”
So the first question is: will I go against all reason, all logic, all feeling, all expectation, everything that any of my senses would tell me, to have hope?
And the second question is: will I set my hope on anything or anyone else but God, or will my hope be in Him alone?
It’s times like this, when I am tempted to trust in my feelings rather than what God says, that I need to rely on the truth of God’s Word.
And His Word says, “Behold what manner of love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God. Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be. But we know that when He shall be revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope on him purifies himself, even as that One is pure.” (1 John 3:1-3)
I don’t know what God is doing in my life, but He knows, and some day He will reveal it. My job right now is to put my hope in Him.
And so I will.
“And may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)