Hope. Hope has been a word that has been chasing me the last couple of weeks. Let me start off by telling you a story.
When I was in High School my best friend got nominated for the Homecoming court. We were so excited, as high school girls are about most things. I helped her pick out a dress , a long sequins dress a al Beverly Hills 90210, watched as she got her hair done in a french twist Just like Kelly Taylor and got her nails did, french tip style like Brenda Walsh.
Yes, we were the product of the 90’s.
Anyways, we were excited, just like Kelly and Brenda.
I watched from the bleachers with her family as she was paraded around the football field and propped up on a stage. The names were read off and finally the moment of truth. All of our anticipation had led up to this moment, the moment we both never really spoke out loud but we both knew, the moment her name would be read aloud for all to hear. As she stood on the stage all sparkly and bright a name was read but it wasn’t her own. There was just a deafening absence of a name. Another name was called and a different sparkly girl came forward to receive her spoils and a crowd full of loud accolades. I watched as my friend was escorted off the stage and I ran down the bleachers to meet her behind them and no words were spoken, we just ran to each other (yes, dramatic. What do you expect we were in High School) and hugged and we both cried. We cried because of the loss, the loss of a hope. I cried because of my friends loss and because she cried and because I was in High School and that’s what High School girls do. She cried for all of those reasons but also because she was embarrassed. Embarrassed for being paraded around and stood on stage in front of what seemed like a million people. She cried because she hoped for the win and was crushed in front of a crowd full of people, made to feel inadequate and small, oh so small, in front of everybody. I’m sure by the next day we were out at the mall fixing all of her crushed hopes but for that moment it was tragic and painful.
I tell you this story because I like to tell stories and because this is how I have viewed hope.
I read this quote last week:
“It is ok to hope. It is safe to hope. For my hope is in Christ Jesus.”
When I read that I realized that hope is an issue for me. I realized that I didn’t think of hope as safe but rather as a liability. And then a read a blog about hope and the fear of hoping because hoping means we put ourselves out there, just like my high school friend did. I think that all of these years I’ve been afraid to hope because I was afraid that my hope would be paraded around in a sparkly dress with a french twist in its hair and french tips and then my hope would be put on a stage only to be crushed and made small and me crushed and small with it. I didn’t want to chance hoping because I didn’t want to chance being put on display for all to see and then being stomped on when my hope was not fulfilled.
A verse the Lord gave me a long time ago is Proverbs 13:12 “Hope deferred makes the heart-sick, but when the desire comes it is a tree of life.” For so many years I’ve focused on the first part the part I know to be true “Hope deferred makes the heart-sick” boy does it, I think we can all attest to that. The part I forget and have chosen to forget for fear that I would have to take action is the latter “When the desire comes it is a tree of life.” You see the Lord doesn’t stop at us being heart-sick. No. He goes on to then replace those desires those hopes we have with His hopes and desires for us and when those come to fruition and they will because God put them there then it’ll be a tree of life. Abundant and bearing fruit and life. A beautiful picture indeed. That does mean however that we do have to hope and we have to place that hope in Jesus and sometimes our hopes will fail. Sometimes our hopes and prayers will not come true and we will feel let down and embarrassed we will feel defeated and crushed but then we learn, we learn to put our hopes in Christ and learn to trust that He will do with them as He see’s fit and we have to be okay with that. Let’s hope, those of us who have been casting our hopes aside or pretending like we don’t have any. As we hope let’s surrender those hopes at the feet of Jesus and let’s hope in Him because let’s face it He’s the only one that can turn our hopes in to His desires and then make them fruitful and give them life.