Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Feeling Hope

Lu wrote a little piece about how she'd learned some things. I asked for details. Eventually she got around to writing the story. (Clever, Lu. The story's title is "The Voice of Hope Inside," but the file name is "so_you_want_det.html." I didn't know you could do that.) In summary, she talks about how hope gets built up and then dashed. Again and again, the world just batters away.

The story resonates with me. What keeps people from giving up?

I gave up on many things. Now that God has a hand in my life there ought to be more hope. There is, of a rather intellectual kind; I know that God loves me. He proves it to me every day. The feeling of hope is, however, very deeply buried. I just don't want it. I don't want to feel the dawning of a new day because as soon as I do that something will happen. A snowstorm comes, or my internal sniper shoots the new idea to pieces, or the once-solid ground will turn to greasy mud and I'll slide back to where I was.

I just know it's a lie. Hope doesn't exist except in my own hands, and I know how fragile and incapable they are.

If you believe in the kind of Christianity that is built on the idea of "God helps those who help themselves," you'll say there's no way this will work. I'm making God angry. God doesn't believe that, as evinced in my life. Lack of faith is seen as a deadly sin by many people. Lack of faith, to God, is just another challenge for him to overcome in his truly inimitable way. If you don't have the foundation, he will build it. If you don't have the foundation for a foundation, he will start there. "Lord, I believe. Please help my unbelief."

It seems that God wants me to feel this hope. Feel the hope that life really can get better. He has been working on it for a long time, and he brought it to mind today, something like three weeks after Lu's story. I'm not responsible for how nutty that is. I'm just responsible for listening, and going on.

How do you teach hope to the hopeless? I guess I'm going to find out.

The file name has been a source of frustration for me for some time. If I don't immediately title my post (which I often don't because the title hasn't yet "revealed itself" to me), Typepad automatically uses the first sentence you write as the permanent file name. Grrr.

Anyway -- I just want to say this. None of us has it tied up with a bow. As much as I'd love for everyone to believe I do, or to delude myself into belieivng I do, I don't. No one does. We are ALL still learning how to live by faith. Really live by faith. And to allow God to plant His hope in us.

Yeah, hoping IS painful. It's opening your heart and soul up to possibility, and that is always dangerous. And scary. And painful.

But you are completely on the right path. The only way to live this life of hope and faith (and love) is with God's help. NONE of us can do it on our own.

And, by the way, WHO SAYS there "ought" to "be more hope" in your life? I'm learning I've put far more guilt and stress on my own self by taking on the "oughts" and "shoulds" of others. The only "ought" that matters is God's. And I don't see Him shaking His head in disgust at your life right now. I see Him celebrating and delighting in you -- with great HOPE for who you WILL be in the future, as HE works His magic in you.

Therefore, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. - Romans 8:1

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