Thursday, July 30, 2009


Hope has been on my mind lately.

How soft and beautiful the petal of a dried rose. It's wrinkled, the edges shriveled. But the scent and shape and texture are all still there, clinging to former beauty. The crisp orange-golden rose presents itself to me from its tall crystal vase on the table at my side.

In different seasons, over different years, God has taught me some of the major themes of life: grace, love, faith. Now it's hope. God is daring me to hope, to risk the happiness of hoping. I have a phrase: Don't wallow in the waiting; hearken to the hoping! But I've never been very good at applying this.


Somehow peace and faith and hope all go together. Hope can't come without trusting. But I can rest in this hoping because I trust. There's peace at laying my hopes at the feet of my God whom I trust, knowing that whatever He does will be good, and I will rejoice. Laying down hopes isn't giving them up; like all things we give to God, we have them through Him. It's the Jim Elliot principle: He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.

As long as I've had my car, it has rattled. This is a feature of Saturns. Mine is particularly evident in the sunroof, which used to actually open. It is just possible that all the times I rammed my wrist into it to stop the rattle caused it to stop functioning. Anyway, for some reason the other day I decided that the rattling sunroof is my reminder to hope. There is something hopeful about looking up, no matter what I see.

So tonight I looked up "hope" in the Bible, and found a verse that reads like a curse: "Whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be a spider's web." (Job 8:14) And for the first time I was struck by just how horrible a threat this is, to have your hope fail - the thing in which you hope to prove itself unworthy. It made me want to cry. Because even though I was just talking about the peace of hope when I trust in God, the patient hoping that still dares to be eager is hard - and there is this fear in me that the hope will be cut off. Anyway, I'm so dependent on hope that the thought of it being "cut off."

Job 27:8, "For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul?"

Psalms 16:8-9, "I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope."

Proverbs 13:12, "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life."

Jeremiah 18:12, "And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart."

Romans 4:18, "Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be."

Romans 5:5, "And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."

Romans 15:13, "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost."

Hebrews 6:11, "And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:"

1 John 3:1-3, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure."

To God be all glory.

1 comment:

Lisa of Longbourn said...

I meant to include this link: because, in the midst of God saying a lot about hope lately, Ann touches on most of it, tying it together with her beautiful story-tongue. Hers is a lot better than mine.