Broken-down Poetry: and character, hope.


Related Posts with Thumbnails

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

and character, hope.

So in contrast to my last two blogs, I'd say this one is a lot more chipper. (You'll soon understand why.)

I think I'm nearing the end of a "trough" and entering what I, or Uncle Screwtape, calls a "peak" or at least a landing of some sort.

It's all about this one--to me, ambiguous--word HOPE.

It all started a long time ago. I have always been hopeful--I guess that's my nature. Not that I'm always optimistic, but by the end of the day I know that things will be okay. Why? Because I'd dream of something better.

And that's where my questions are aroused.

Is it okay to just yearn for something better? What about the here and now? C.S. Lewis said in his book The Screwtape Letters this: "[God] does not want men to give the future their hearts, to place their treasure in it." But what if the current state of affairs sucks?

And so I've been grappling with that concept, putting it to test against the Bible verses I know:

"And hope does not disappoint us for God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who He has given us." Romans 5:5

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4

Not to mention the several times the Bible says things like "put your hope in the Lord," "renew your hope," or "I will hope in your name."

What does it mean exactly to "hope in the Lord"? Is it the same thing as hoping for something the Lord will bless you with?

Like I said, my mind was grappling with all of this. And on Monday night I read something that further added to my skepticism of it all. It was in the form of a quote by my most respected clergyman who ever lived, George MacDonald.

"Lest it should be possible that any unchildlike soul might, in arrogance and ignorance, think to stand upon his rights against God, and demand of Him this or that after the will of the flesh, I will lay before such a possible one some of the things to which he has a right.... He has a claim to be compelled to repent; to be hedged in on every side: to have one after another of the strong, sharp-toothed sheep dogs of the Great Shepherd sent after him, to thwart him in any desire, foil him in any plan, frustrated him of any hope, until he come to see at length that nothing will ease his pain, nothing make life a thing worth having, but the presence of the living God within him."

And I don't believe I understand that fully. But I do get the last line (which is why I'm so distressed).

Last night I was going back and forth about this. Is hoping for something good to happen bad or good? Or is it like desiring to be loved, as MacDonald says, which is neither noble nor wrong. So I did what I thought any good Christian should do... I prayed. This is what I discovered, rather, what God dis-covered for me:

I was never upset because I thought that my dreams (my hopes, ambitions, etc.) would never become reality. Instead, I was upset because they weren't reality right now.

"Hope isn't about right now."

Hope doesn't have a timeframe. Hope needs to rely on the element of "maybe." Not when. Not now. Not soon.

It's not a matter of giving up on hope itself, it's just the attachment and the demands of it. Like all things, if you aren't willing to give it up, you aren't fit to have it. But what I had never learned before was that if I assumed hope would be in my control, I was wrong.

God gives us hope to keep us going, to not give up, and to finish the race. BUT if we say "Okay God, my dream is to be married by age 23 and have a career and a nice apartment" we are foolish. It's no longer a matter of hope that God has things under control and those things might happen, but it has become a matter of me. Yes, even hope should be about God and not us. Hope has a lot to do with trust, I've realized. To what extend, I do not yet know.

So don't give up on hope. Hope=good. But don't turn hope into something ungodly--a desire for something God doesn't want you to waste your time with. Trust Him. He has your interests in mind.


No comments: