A Hope Filled Life
A wonderful notion – one worth aspiring to. Hope is not something like, ‘I hope it doesn’t rain today’, or ‘I hope I get a raise’. It is for me (a believer) the certainty of what my God has for me, both in the here and now on this earth plus what is waiting for me on the day I arrive in Heaven. It is something that I am certain of though this world hits me at times with its schedules, pressures, bad behaviors (sometimes mine) and fleeting rewards.
But, with the aforementioned assaults that we may or may not withstand, hope leaks. We lose sight of it. We linger too long over something we have no business even entertaining. Distraction (or some derivative of it) becomes our middle name – ‘Hi! I’m Pam ‘Shiny Thing’ Halvorson. Pleased to meet you!’
What can we linger over (alongside a fine cup of coffee) that can stop up the leaks? Or better yet – what does a hope filled life look like?
For me, in one word – Jesus – but I am not a one word kind of girl. I can hear Stu sighing with a deep and eye rolling ‘So, so true …. ‘.
Now, with many words, and a few eclectic turns, let me explain where I am headed with this.
After speaking with a number of people, and asking, ‘what does a hope filled life look like?’ They answered – a person with a hope filled life (Jesus in their life), is a person who:
– sees possibilities not problems
– lives without fear
– embraces joy in the ups of life dynamically & endures the downs of life dependently
– sees life as a gift
– is calm
– sees beyond the everyday to a greater, bigger picture of theirs & others’ lives
– is teachable
– is quick to forgive an offense
– is not stuck in the past but has optimism for the future
– knows the art of forgiveness
– holds no grudges
Interesting. With the acknowledgement that we are a leaking lot, we hold to these ideals while we hold onto Jesus. Or more accurately, as He holds onto us.
Job 13: 15 & 16 says:
15 Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;
I will surely defend my ways to his face.
16 Indeed, this will turn out for my deliverance,
for no godless person would dare come before him!
So Job is saying that even though God may afflict him so much so that die he may, he would not stop placing his hope in the Father. And further, that if indeed Job did pass away, God would work everything out, so that all would be ‘good’. Job expounds on this notion indicating he would feel right at home boldly asking God about this suffering thing – without feeling that things might get edgy, or that he might cross a line. Because he knows God and God knows him, which means He knows Job’s heart. Lines would remain uncrossed. Apple carts would stand upright. Flies would not mar ointment. Question: What makes a hope so powerful that even suffering and death could not unseat it?
The writer of Psalm 130 reflects this in verses 7 & 8:
7 Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
8 He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.
Can you grasp these words? Do you see the hope? Hope in the Lord. With the Lord IS unfailing love. With Him is FULL redemption. He Himself will redeem Isreal (place your name in the place of Isreal & read it again). Question: Who loves so personally, with such stable determination?
Lamentations 3: 19-33
19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is young.
28 Let him sit alone in silence,
for the Lord has laid it on him.
29 Let him bury his face in the dust—
there may yet be hope.
30 Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
and let him be filled with disgrace.
31 For no one is cast off
by the Lord forever.
32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.
33 For he does not willingly bring affliction
or grief to anyone.
Long passage I know, but rich. Breathe …
2 words that really stand out – ‘every morning’. Every morning! That is every single day – not once a week, or when the ‘feeling’ is right, but daily. Does this not edge into the ‘inescapable’ genre?
Another word further in the passage – ‘unfailing’. Kinda parallels the ‘every morning’ thing. Right?
Couple the above sureties with words like:
– the Lord’s great love
– His compassions
– great is Your faithfulness
– the salvation of the Lord
– not willingly bring affliction
and you have an image. A powerful something that speaks of a heart set on yours. A lasting and personal security. An unshakable reality of Someone bent on loving every aspect of you. Through the affliction. The wandering. The bitterness. The downcast soul (very bad). Through the waiting. The yoking to our troubles. And the submitting to the consequences. Through the silence. The disgrace. And the grief. There is faithfulness. There is unfailing. There is salvation. There is hope. We are within reach.
Dan said recently where there is hope there is life. Life to the full. A hope filled life indeed. Question: Do you have it?