Rising With Hope: Clinging to God’s Unchanging Presence in Our Lives
My daughter grabbed a marker, wrote the word “Hope” on a rock she was holding, and snapped a quick picture. When she texted the image to me later that night, my heart caught a little in my throat.
She has no idea what atrocities are happening in the world. No idea that hatred and pride and selfishness are too often the main motivators for so many of mankind’s actions. No idea how dark and scary and painful so much of this world is.
Yet she wrote Hope on a rock and sent it to me. Why? Was God wanting to say something to me through her simple action?
This is something I’ve wrestled with recently: How can a person hope with eyes wide open at the wickedness of the world? How does one hope when all you can see looking around you is more and more evidence of humankind’s depravity and seeming inability to control its hatred and perversion and selfish ambition?
What does “hope” even mean?
Last weekend I wrote about how, though we may very well be living in the midst of a dark night (either in our personal lives or in the world at large), we are still called and equipped to rise up in the midst of it all. We still have work to do, people to love, souls to care for— even though it may be dark and fearsome and confusing for us.
But how? How do we even locate hope when so much of what surrounds us doesn’t seem promising or likely to become beautiful in the end?
And again I ask: What does “having hope” even mean?
Is “hope” having an ignorant, what-I-don’t-know-can’t-hurt-me kind of mindset? Is hope an unfounded belief that, despite everything I see with my eyes, things will get better someday? Is hope just a naïve, uneducated pipe dream conjured up by folks who are out of touch with reality?
Perhaps for some.
But for me, “hope” doesn’t necessarily mean that I believe things will turn out the way I prefer or even the way I wholeheartedly believe they ought to turn out.
Over the past twenty-something years, I’ve dug into the Bible a ton— and from what I can see, God doesn’t promise me a trouble-free life. He doesn’t promise comfortable living, great feelings of happiness, worldly success, nor for things to turn out the way I prefer them to turn out. And as much as I don’t care for it, He also doesn’t even guarantee my or my loved ones’ personal physical safety or freedom from pain or discomfort.
Though I do long for those things, that is not the kind of hope I hold in my hand.
For me, Hope is trusting that what God says is true: no matter what happens, He will be with me. Even if the unspeakable, my worst nightmare, happens to me or my husband or my children— even then… somehow… God will be with me and help me through that.
That, to me, is Hope.
That, to me, is what I cling to when I talk about rising up in the midst of a dark time.
That, to me, is what I believe all of us can and must hold fast to when we consider rising up to play our part in bringing love and light to the world around us.
We need to know we are not alone, that the very God who created us and loves us is with us at all times. And He is available to be the truest, wisest, most loving, most capable Source we will ever need.
“I will never leave you.” ~Joshua 1:5
“He watches over all who love him.” ~Psalm 145:20
“Though my mother and father forsake/abandon me, the Lord will receive me/take me in/adopt me as His child.” ~Psalm 27:10
God is with us. He always has been and He always will be.
Friends: Let us cling to that, holding that hope in the palm of our hands. And then: let us continue to move forward in whatever it is He is calling us to.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
[[This is Part Two of a (probably) 5-part series stemming from several things God has been teaching me over the past few months. Stay tuned for Part 3: Rising with Refreshment, a discussion on heeding God’s desire for His kids to rest, remember and celebrate (as part of our equipping process)..]]
* * *
What about you?
What does “hope” mean to you? What do you hope for? Is there a particular “source” wherein you find hope?
Please share your journey in the comment section below.