Posted by: toddzilla | December 4, 2006

What is Hope…what do we really do with it?

This is the Advent season and the traditions of the series are, admittedly, a bit fuzzy to me.  As a kid in the Baptist church we observed Advent, but to me it was more like a countdown.  I remember sitting in church and getting excited as each candle was lit because it meant I was one week closer to scoring that Sweet X-Wing from Santa Claus.  Now that I’ve moved to a new church (well I’ve been there for…lemme see…about 2 years I guess) and its a…GASP…Methodist church, well they are immersing me into Advent traditions a bit more deeply.  As I understand it, one of the first tenets is Hope.  So lets talk about hope.

 Hope can be many things, but I guess I view it as what we believe in…I mean truly believe in.  It’s what gives us motivation in good times and bad.  Of course the cop-out answer is Jesus!  I hope in the Lord!  But do we really?  Do you really hope in the Lord?  I try to split hope into two things…what and where.  What do you hope for and where do you place that hope?  I know I know!  I hope in Jesus and I place that hope in the Lord!

 Its not that simple…When things get stressful, I find that I truly place my hope in myself.  I start to map out my alternatives (how can I scrounge up the cash to fix the car?) aka…that’s what I’m hoping for…Then I ask myself how I can make those alternatives happen (what can Todd do to get that cash) aka…this is what I’m placing my hope in.  Now, I look myself in the mirror each day and the I just don’t seem like a great place to store hope.  I’m not necessarily a horse that you want to bet on.  So why do I keep hoping in myself?

 I think Christians have an idea of what we should hope for and where we should place that hope, granted we don’t know all the intricacies of hope (we have to wait on God to reveal that I suppose).  But in real tough times and even in times of exuberant joy…how do we go about having the right types of hope and placing that hope in the Lord?  How do we check ourselves, stop, and put hope where it needs to go?

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Responses

  1. I think with that Hope comes a relationship. When we come to think of God as something more than the person on the other end of the 1-800 call center for 24-7 help and see our relationship with him as being meaningful, then I believe we find ourselves trusting in God more for some of the things we might not have before.

    Human ego gets in the way too often, I know it does in my life a lot. We want to think we can do everything and that we can do it all. In fact, we can not, but through God all things are possible and his Hope never fades.

  2. Memory is the other half of hope. We can only have hope with the memory of what God has already done for us, and/or(if you haven’t recognized God’s hand in your life) in the story of God’s people. Through reading and re-reading scripture and hearing the testimonies of God’s hand in other’s lives we can begin to take the right things for granted, ie. God’s fulfillment of the properly placed hope we hold for God and in God. Our hope will become the standard by which we operate when we surround ourselves of stories where God is the hero and not us.

  3. Todd-I wish you knew the old me…if you did then you would surely have hope in the Lord alone. There is hope for change. When we desperately desire for things to be better then God goes to work. I have hope for the life-giving progress we are all offered if we only turn the hours of our days to Christ. Come, Lord Jesus! It’s almost post time…who are you betting on?

  4. Shannon-You’re right…we do seem to think of God (especially our prayers) as talking TO God not talking WITH God.

    Shay-Great point too! How quickly do we hear and feel God’s hand in our lives and then forget it! It reminds me of the Israelites in the wilderness. One week they see the pillars of fire at night and clouds during the day, then it seems like they forget it all the next week and complain about quail…Of course that section of scripture is 40 years crammed into a few chapters, but still. We have to have our antennae up and searching constantly to see and experience God’s

  5. Mags-

    I think I see where you’re coming from…When we have hope on our own devices, sometimes we keep hanging on until we get to a point of desperation and hopefully at that time we will either see God’s hope or someone will help us see it…then we have to give up our self-reliance and place our hope in God.

    Is that along the lines of what you’re talking about?

  6. Right on.


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