Thursday, November 12, 2009

Choosing Hope

Have you ever wanted something so badly that you were afraid to admit it? Even to yourself? Have you ever been hesitant to hope for something because you didn't want to be disappointed? Maybe you were even afraid that if you expressed your hope to someone else and it didn't come to fruition you would be embarassed.

My dear friend has had a longing for another baby for almost 8 years, and she is just now learning to allow herself to hope for it. She told me this week, "I am trying to deliberately hope." My response was, "Hope is always a good choice, no matter what happens."

Now, this is not the advice of the world at large. And, after I shot her that text, I thought to myself, "I better be able to back that up." There is a tendency to want to protect ourselves, and we know God's Word encourages us to "guard our hearts" (Proverbs 4:23). So why is it that I have a burning desire to encourage Christian sisters and brothers to expect BIG things from God and not be afraid that he will disappoint us? After all the pain I've suffered in the last few years, why in the world do I still want to stick my neck out there and risk being hurt?

I have walked a fine line between hope and despair most days since Audrey died. But, it has been clear to me since minute one that I have a choice to make. It seems like a non-choice, really. I'm still breathing (and I didn't opt for this, by the way), so I might as well live with hope. Does despair really protect me from pain anyway? On the contrary, it intensifies it.

So how do I go about choosing hope then? Psalm 31:24 says, "Be strong and take heart, all you who hope IN THE LORD." It is the OBJECT of our hope that is our first order of business. In Scripture, where the word hope is used, the object of that hope is worth noting. As believers, our hope is "in the Lord", "in His Word", "in His unfailing love", and "in what he has promised."

Hope placed in the mighty hands of our God is safe for our tender hearts. We are assured in Scripture that "those who hope in God will not be disappointed" (Isaiah 49:23) and that "no one whose hope is in God will ever be put to shame" (Psalm 25:3a).

Translation: Dare to dream BIG. If our longings are not forbidden in Scripture, and especially if they are a clear demonstration of God's will as expressed in Scripture, we can boldly lift them to the Lord in expectant hope.

Does this mean that every longing of our hearts will be fulfilled? If my friend hopes for a baby bad enough, will she get one? If I dare to trust my husband, does that mean he won't disappoint me again? No. But, our longings are safe with God because our hope is not in whether or not we get what we want. Our hope is in the God who has proven himself faithful over and over in our lives. And, no matter what, he does not disappoint.

Will you join me and my friend today and choose hope? I am confident it is a good choice, no matter what happens.


Choices said...

THank you for the reminder. HOPE means staying around for the really yucky stuff and knowing, hoping, knowing it is the will of a loving God who has GREAT plans for me.

Thank you so much for writing. Your words are blessings. It was wonderful to hug you.

Unknown said...

What a beautiful expression of what "Hope" really is. Our hope is in God and not in what He can do for us. I am Denise Bradley's mother and I have heard your story from her. God is going to continue to use you in a mighty way and turn the bad things of your life around to work for good both for you and for God's kingdom.

Shelly C said...

I posted this on my blog last week after we had that "conversation" :

Psalm 42:11 (NIV)
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God,for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

I'm still having to purposefully choose to hope each day and it's not always easy but I'm willing to give Him a chance to change my pain to joy, just don't listen in on any conversations just yet, the praise is not always forthcoming.

I love you my friend and treasure our very real and transparent conversations.