This past year my word, theme really, has been Hope. I have focused on what it means to hope. In my mind, learning to hope was me being less afraid to ask God for things I long for and He would fulfill them. God had a different plan. He has taught me to be more vulnerable with Him through this journey and to trust when I lay my needs and longings before him he sees hears, and meets them in his time and his way.
Hope is not circumstantial, it is non-contingent. When things are going sideways in life, hope tells me that God is shifting things around to get them in the best place. He works all things together for the good of those who love him, despite the circumstances.
When circumstances do not turn out the way I envisioned, I am learning to pray to be open. I pray to lay my life before God so that he may work as he sees fit. I pray to be willing to be prepared by him for what he has in store instead of grasping for control or translating what he is doing as a negative. Hope teaches me to accept the mystery of what I cannot know. From the loss of my grandfather, difficulties at my job, character challenges, to moments of heart break and disappointment, Hope calls out to comfort me in the promise that God is still here working through it all.
Ps119:76 “May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.
Learning to hope in God the right way has allowed me to grow in my trust in him and be more vulnerable with him and others. I do not have to go through life using all my energy to hide my heart and protect myself. I can walk into difficult situations and not be consumed. I can love others with real abandonment. I can trust the God with nail marks in his wrists. Through loss of loved ones and other disappointments this year, I have learned to hope for so much more than mere change in circumstances. I’ve learned the secret side of strength is vulnerability and gratitude.
Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
I am deeply loved. I am a child of God. When I’m disappointed or fearful of how something will turn out, I can doubt I am enough or question if God still sees and hears me. In these moments I take my eyes off of Jesus (the hope God calls me to), and focus on the circumstances. Outwardly my actions remain the same, but inwardly I second-guess and don’t want to allow myself to hope, for fear of disappointment.
You and I are amazing to Him! We will do great things because of 1Thes1:4 “[…] he has chosen you.” Believe that. Live in it and let it navigate your actions and decisions. This truth transforms us. It has freed me to be able to live in and enjoy the moment. Hope is the promise of heaven, of a God who walks with us even when things fall apart, it will be ok, because we belong to Him. Vulnerability allows us to admit our needs and let that draw us to eachother and God. Give your best and put your whole heart into it. Don’t worry if that friendship will turn into anything more; enjoy the friendship for what it is and allow God to teach you what he may. Don’t go into the workout feeling defeated, you are more than a conqueror. Mourn the loss of loved ones leaning into God for comfort. God’s love for us is eternal; it gives us great hope and confidence if we accept it.
2 Corinthians 4:16 “Therefore we do not loose heart […] For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”