Monday, October 10, 2011

"Hope Never Loses Us"

I wish they were my words.  Alas I am not that clever.  Instead my gift seems to be recognizing the powerful moment when I see it.  This moment hit me as I exited the ladies room on the second floor of Cherry Hall today.  I had to make a pit stop before teaching my class.  On my way out the door, these words caught me.  No they did not catch my eye.  They literally caught me, the person that I am, the one living in a season where hope plays hide and seek, the girl who is constantly looking for hope but scared she may miss it.  That's me, a woman caught,  off guard by simple magnetic words sticking to a board in the hallway, arranged as if they were waiting just for me.

Secretly I've always been afraid of being hopeful.  I never wanted to be the person that put her hopes in something only to be crushed by a very different reality.  Yet I've also felt the weight of being a woman of faith, to trust beyond comprehension that God's goodness is working its way into my life in ways I cannot see.  I can trust that God will surprise me with His goodness.  When I don't expect it.  When I'm not looking.  That makes sense.  And it happens all the time.  In fact I love it when God does that.  There is just that part of me that learned early on how devastating disappointment can be.  I figure if I never have specific hopes then they cannot ever be dashed. 

But these delicious words wash over me, and fill me with, well, hope.  Hope never loses us.  It takes the pressure off somehow.  My soul hears it as good news.  My weary, battle worn heart doesn't have to hold on to hope because Hope is holding on to me. 

Today in particular I needed those words.  I have been wrestling with the ins and outs of this peculiar season.  Losing my job last spring brought the unexpected grace of rest and simple joy back into my life.  Yet this "gift" has brought me to a season of deep uncertainty about the future, one I've never had to be in before.  There is no doubt in my mind that God's hand moved me out of that position.  What has frustrated me is that His hand did not move me into another position that provides like the last one did.  Honestly, I don't want to go back to that place of carrying huge burdens on my shoulders.  But if I had to, I would.  I would do whatever I needed to do so that my family can make it.  I've learned to be very self-reliant.

Slowly I am coming to see how my own self-reliance has been an idol in my life.  I never needed to rely on Him so completely before.  It terrifies me.  Even as the gift of being free tastes so yummy, I find myself squirming in the unsettledness this freedom brings.  Before if something in my life needed to happen, I would simply make it happen.  Now I can't make anything happen.  I have to rest in and rely on Him.  I love it and hate it at the same time.  My heart feels hopeful. because the burden is gone and I feel so free, but the feeling is nothing I want to put my hope on.  Can I really trust God to provide?  Can I really trust that obedience to the nudge to rest in His presence and enjoy this time is truly wise?  Can I really believe that He has plans to prosper my family that I have not even imagined yet?  Can I really trust that still small Voice in my deepest heart that says "Wait and see!"?  Can I really believe that Hope is out there whether I have it or not?

I like to think that the Hope of my future, and the future of my family, is watching me right now, unconcerned with whether or not I find my own way to the hope filled destination God has for me, because Hope knows right where to find me, when the time is right.  No matter how much I think hope is lost, Hope never loses us.

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