Hope, to me, has always been elusive, an enigma, so difficult to comprehend and nearly impossible to put into practice. Other concepts such as joy, peace, faith, or love feel within my grasp, but hope has always seemed to be just beyond my reach.
For many years my attitude towards hope (especially in situations where I have previously experienced disappointment or rejection) has been “What’s the point?” In my mind I justified this attitude with the beginning of Proverbs 13:12 which reads, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” No matter how many other verses I read about the beauty and significance of hope, this verse became my default, a protective armor of sorts against the risks involved in choosing to hope.
In the past few months, however God has been using a combination of blog posts and life circumstances to help me see hope in a different light. He’s pushed past my tough exterior of faked indifference to get to the root of my aversion to hope.
Here’s the uncomfortable truth He’s uncovered – I am afraid to hope.
In many ways this fear feels justifiable. Hope is risky. It demands that I trust that God is good, all the time, and that He loves me. It calls me to put stock in things I cannot yet see or know. And it forces me to surrender my lust for control and certainty.
Even writing about hope makes me want to crawl under a safe, stable rock, only venturing out when I feel some measure of security in how the journey will end. But deep down I know that security is an illusion, and certainty isn’t promised.
In all the times I’ve used Proverbs 13:12 as an excuse to avoid hope, I have completely missed the second part of the verse which reads, “but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” How did I miss that? Yes, hope is risky, but the risk increases the value of the reward, as well as adding to the richness and joy of the journey.
In the words of my wise friend Chloe, “Hope is the anchor for our souls, holding us perfectly in the balance of a Kingdom daily recognized and not yet eternally realized.” (Practicing the Presence of Hope)
So today I’m going to choose hope – risky, gritty hope that doesn’t yet make sense to me, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that God is faithful to keep His promises. With my hope rooted in Christ, “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13)
Picture credit goes to my wonderful and talented mom!