Hope (October 12, 2012)

…Opening To…

We are as sure to be in trouble as the sparks fly upward, but we will also be “in Christ,” as [Paul] puts it. Ultimately, not even sorrow, loss, death can get at us there. (Frederick Buechner)

…Listening In…

Why, I ask myself, are you so depressed? Why are you so upset inside? Hope in God! Because I will again give him thanks, my saving presence and my God.  (Psalm 42:5; context)

…Filling Up…

So what keeps us trusting God? What motivates us to surrender every day ourselves and our fear-filled anxiety to God? The answer to these questions is hope. (You see, I promised on Monday that we’d get to hope, and here we are!)

So what is hope? Well, for starters, hope is a much bigger concept than we can do justice to in three minutes, so we’ll only hit the summary of the summary here. Hope is the act of trust taken out of the present and projected into the future.

On Wednesday we talked about the unknown future being fearful because God is not there. Well, the act of hoping transforms the unknown future into a known one. True, we don’t know what will happen. In that, the future stays mostly unknown. But we do know one thing, and it’s the most important thing. We know who will be with us.

Trusting that God is with us and we are with God now helps us to have faith that God will be with us and we with God in the murky “then” of the days ahead. Practicing this trust daily strengthens our ability to hope, which is really just another way to talk about our future trust in God.

Hope transforms fearful anxiety using the raw material of trust. Surrendering to God is our part in the process of this transformation. No matter how good or bad we are at surrendering, God always and for ever invites us to do it – again and again. This invitation is always valid because God knows that we need the practice.

As someone who is still practicing and always will be, I’ll tell you that trusting in God today and hoping for God tomorrow is truly the best way to live. I hope that you will give it a try.

…Praying For…

Dear God, fulfiller of your holy promises, grant me the grace to be in your presence today and everyday in the future, so that I may continue to draw on your strength as I strive to achieve your call in my life. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, thankful that you are always and forever inviting me to walk the paths of trust and hope.

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