Finding Your Hope in the Waiting
“I don’t want to get my hopes up.”
A friend said this to me recently about a situation she’s very eager to see turn out in a certain way. She’s been disappointed so many times, that even the idea of hope makes her feel vulnerable and self-protective. Can you relate to that? To hope is to expose a longing. Hope is so deeply connected to our hearts, and we hold it tenderly out and up to Heaven, like Mufasa presenting Simba in the Lion King.
Some people just don’t want to go there anymore. Maybe you’ve said things like, “I don’t want to get my hopes up just to be disappointed again. I don’t want to talk to anyone about it, and I surely don’t want to talk to God about it, because He obviously is not working it out the way I want. I feel embarrassed and ashamed like I must be hoping for the wrong thing.”
Do you know anyone in that space? They’ve hired a hope bouncer to stand guard outside their hearts and make sure no hope dare comes in.
Here’s something I’m learning about hope: it’s more than a wish, and it’s always connected to waiting. Hope and waiting are cousins.
The Apostle Paul wrote this about waiting for Jesus’ return in Romans 8:24-25, “If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.”
I don’t know how I do with the “waiting patiently” part, but Paul is spot on about the tension and mystery of what it means to hope. It is a vulnerable thing, and the longer we are asking and waiting with seemingly no results, our hope can spring a leak. The waiting can even trick us into thinking our hope is defective and we aren’t doing it right.
Listen to me, my friend. If the strength and results behind our hope are up to us and how consistently and intensely we ask for what we want, hope will break our hearts.
But… when our hope is powered by a promise that God has made, we are invited to hope in a new way. Putting it all out there, with full trust and confidence that the best possible answer to all my longings has been guaranteed by the Lord. Jesus is my Living Hope, the Hope that won’t ever be disappointed, the Hope that overrides all the other hopes.
As we get closer to Christmas and begin our holiday rituals of shopping and decorating, I want to invite you to HOPE again – not in a circumstance, but in a Savior. Advent means arrival, and Jesus is HOPE that has arrived and will be coming again.
Go ahead and get your hopes up.