Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hoping for Hope

Have you ever audibly heard His voice? I had never. I've felt it. Felt it burn, like a brand, words on my heart. Felt it like a wind, whispered across my mind. I've seen His words in color but never had I heard them. Not until today.

Everlasting your light will shine when all else fades
Never-ending your glory goes beyond all fame

That's the line of a beautiful song we sang this morning. But what I heard was the word hope instead of the word light. "Everlasting, Your Hope will shine when all else fades..." The praise and worship leader did not sing it. I didn't say it. I wasn't even thinking it. I heard it. So clearly. "hope will shine..." I was so stunned and kind of disoriented that I didn't realize it at first. I turned around to see who could be standing so close that I would hear them singing that clearly. But I was sitting alone.

Your hope will shine when all else fades...

Then I started thinking about that. And the more I thought about it the bigger the idea became in my mind. Doesn't it seem like the more hopeless a situation is the more God expects us to hope, trust, and have faith in Him? It's like it's kind of the point. Like He says, "Yeah I made you weak on purpose." That kind of got me thinking about that scripture from Romans 5. (which is interesting because my pastor referenced the same verse...hmm wonder if God is trying to say something??)

  1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

 Note the word tribulation. When I think of that word I think about pretty much everything bad that could happen, happening.

Your hope will shine when all else fades....

When all else fades? When life is darkness and pitched in despair. When life has no meaning and all is bleak and hopeless. His hope will shine. Like a light. Like a beacon in a storm tossed night mare. Like the breaking light of dawn, not in the morning, but at midnight when the night is darkest.

And surviving isn't enough. He's working out perseverance in us and that proves our character. All those impurities within us get burned out in the fire and when it feels like nothing is left we finally get around to figuring out hope. Waking up, eating, working, sleeping, living, it's not enough! I've known women who have survived horrible experiences in life but He says that's not enough. Oh if we could just believe He's got it all figured out, that He has a plan and is perfectly capable of working it out for us!  

When we come out on the other end of proven character there's nothing to be disappointed about because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. I love that! I used to not get it. But now I see that hope is like a check written for the cost of your life. You don't have to worry about that check bouncing because it's backed with all the currency He has. Love. It's almost like the word hope is an oxymoron. It seems to imply that whatever you're "hoping" for could possibly not happen. But when your hope is in Him, it's a sure thing. No doubt about it and you know this with every fiber of your being.

He's still teaching me what His hope is all about and what it means for me to have hope. But I think I'm finally starting to get it. What about you?