Hope. What feelings or words do you associate with the word?
Typically, “hope” has happy, warm and fuzzy connotations. Let’s be honest. We don’t really hope when what we hope for feels or seems absolutely impossible. We’re not going to hope for things that are logically or realistically unattainable in our opinions. But what about hope during circumstances that are absolutely hopeless? What about hope in things that are far beyond what we can wrap our heads around? Hope that defies all logic or reason?
Thursday, I had the absolute pleasure of spending some time with Ms. Chioma Chukwu. We went to Starbucks to grab some much needed caffiene and catch up on each others lives. I cannot begin to describe the necessity of fellowship for our spiritual lives to grow and stay healthy!
Anyway, we began to talk about this thing called hope. Chioma shared how she had been learning how it takes an incredible amount of courage to hope even when things are bad. To hope even when things are so broken and imperfect.
It may be simple but it’s a foreign concept to me lately.
Being home always tends to bring out the worst in me. Makes sense… when home is the source of most of my brokenness. For a lot of us, home is a reminder of the hurtful things in our lives.
I find that I don’t hope much if at all. I don’t expect a lot so I can never be disappointed. I’m pretty indifferent about big things in my life so that if they crash and burn, it wouldn’t matter to me anyway. I assume the worst. I expect the worst.
How do you hope when life becomes a series of disappointments? And you don’t know how to expect otherwise?
Let’s look at one example. Girls who hope for good husbands and good marriages. That makes sense. I’m one of those who don’t, or maybe won’t, hope in those things. To me, if it happens it happens. And I always thought me better for believing that way. But now, I find those girls who never stop hoping in future husbands not pathetic (for lack of less harsher words) but incredibly courageous. They do what I can’t. They are willing to risk being hurt because they believe and hope that love can happen and it’s worth fighting for. Not hoping in those things don’t make me less naive or immature, it makes me a coward.
How about my upcoming Global Project to China? I’m always indifferent to big trips. Chioma pointed out that I was lowering my expectations again. Is my lack of hope and expectations a sign that I think God will disappoint me? The trip could be amazingly awesome… or incredibly hard… or whatever.
How about my sister Nancy Uwera, a refugee from Nairobi, Kenya. Her tribe and her entire family were massacred. She’s lost everything but has not lost her faith in God. She has not lost her belief that God loves her, in His provision, and His promises. Nancy knows suffering. She knows despair. She knows much more than me, the absolute feeling of hopelessness. She knows what it is to have hope when all things qualify her not to hope.
So what is my hope? Whatever happens over the next few weeks, I can have hope that this trip is in some way part of my transformation. It doesn’t matter if it’s an amazing experience or not. I know that God loves me. I know He has plans to prosper me. I know He wants to transform me to be more like His Son. He’s committed to loving me and shaping me. I can expect great things because He loves me. I can be confident that He will graciously give me all things because I am indeed an adopted daughter of the most high God.
Hope. During our time at Starbucks, the weight of my mess and my brokenness felt so overwhelming. Hope? Hope in the mercy of God that despite my mess and my sin, salvation is mine through death and resurrection of Jesus Christ on my behalf. Hope in the amazing grace of God for all things.. my future.. my trip.. my life.