Ethereal and mysterious, like sparks that fly up from a fire then vanish or like a cool morning fog that burns away with the sun’s intense rays, so has the word hope been to me.
In my childhood I hoped Santa would bring me what I wanted and I hoped to go play and I hoped to grow up to be happy. Like wishing upon a star I learned early the taste of disappointment when my hopes didn’t come true. In my early adulthood as a new believer in Christ I learned hope was tied to prayer not wishes. While God graciously answered many of my hope filled prayers, equally as many heaven-sent words seemed to vanish like flickering sparks.
More than a decade ago I was arrested in my reading by a phrase which changed my view of hope from ethereal to solid: “and hope does not disappoint,” (Romans 5:5). After more unanswered prayers than I could count I wanted some ‘does-not-disappoint’ in my life. He who does not change began to show me that it is people and circumstances that disappoint most often. Hope placed anywhere but in Him was doomed.
On Christmas morning this year I woke thinking about hope, the true response to the miraculous incarnation, yet oddly and unexpectedly I began hearing the words and tune of “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” The lines, “And tho this world with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,” worked their way into my consciousness. “How true,” I thought. I am so easily undone by the news of children senselessly killed in Pakistan and in Africa, of murders in my own country. Closer to home are frequent disappointments when I don’t get the response I expected or hoped for from my husband or daughter or son or friend or coworker.
“Though the fig tree (or my children) should not blossom, and there be no fruit (or vibrant health or financial stability) on the vines…yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.” (Habakkuk 3:17,18) When I purposely choose to place my hope on my unshakeable Friend and my solid Rock I know all disappointments will be made right one day.
And most importantly one Day He will return which is my greatest hope of all. Elegantly laced on page after page of His Word are bright and intricate signs of His coming again on the clouds. As the pattern grows clearer my hope grows stronger.
Martin Luther wrote these hope-filled words in 1529, “from age to age the same, His kingdom is forever,” because he believed as do I that Jesus, who cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18) will keep His promise. “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with me, to render to every man according to what he has done. Yes, I am coming quickly.” (Revelation 22: 12,20)
Hope has become for me an unshakeable confidence in the trustworthiness of an unchangeable God who I know is working all things for my good. In 2015 I hope for God’s provision for my daughter, for God’s favor on Ever Thine Home and many more desires all taken to Him in prayer. Most of all I hope for His return, but if He tarries my hope will not disappoint because it is firmly anchored on Jesus and He will not let me go.
What are your hopes for 2015?