GodReflection: A Secure Grip On Hope.
Can I Count on hope?
Each of us stand before this question on a continuum from skepticism to confidence. Like life, our tendency is to interpret hope through the lens of experience.
It doesn’t take a genius to perceive no two people receive the same advantages and disadvantages from the start to the finish of our walk on earth. Satan is a genius in his ability to select just the right tools to use against us. However, I would argue that no matter what we perceive to be the advantages of others, that we all face our own set of circumstances and trials beyond our ability to control outcomes.
There was a time when I kept a list of my top three or four challenges that seem to not have a solution. Where does hope fit into the unknowns I cannot control? Can I count on hope to walk me through all unknowns?
To begin with, I want to look at what I perceive to be the easier perspective—those of us who receive more advantages than we deserve. Those of us who were blessed by birth into families we can count on. Those of us who were born into churches that stood with us during our formative years. Those of us who were offered every educational advantage. Those of us who have never worried about thirst nor the availability of the next meal.
From that platform I read the promises of The Holy and hope seems more than plausible. More of my past hopes than I merit turned into reality. As I read Scripture and witness the faithfulness of God, it is not unreasonable for me to count on hope.
Now the more difficult perspective.
What about the millions who live at present whose experience is nothing like the description of the previous two paragraphs? Were you born from a family tree that seems to have produced only dry and withered fruit? Were you overlooked by the church? Has educational opportunities seemed out of reach? Does hunger and a secure place to live seem far to frequent? Is there anything solid enough to count on? Does hope seem absent in your vocabulary?
Earlier in the month I read Job’s response to his three fireside “comforters”. I suspect it to be a rather good guess that at some point in our lives we can join with Job in his frustration of tough situations and the absence of answers we seek to keep hope alive. Listen to Job.
“Maybe you’d all like to start over, to try it again, the bunch of you. So far, I haven’t come across one scrap of wisdom in anything you’ve said. My life’s about over.
All my plans are shattered, all my hopes are snuffed out—my hope that night would turn into day, my hope that dawn was about to break.
If all I have to look forward to is a home in the graveyard, if my only hope for comfort is a well-built coffin, if a family reunion means going six feet under, and the only family that shows up is worms, do you call that hope?
Who on earth could find any hope in that? No, if hope and I are to be buried together, I suppose you’ll all come to the double funeral” (Job 17:10-16 The Message).
Let me make the following observations:
First, we like Job, do not receive an explanation as to the whys and why nots of the life’s trials. At the core of the Book of Job is the message, Creator God is our maker who grants hope and peace through our trust in The Holy.
Second, Job finds his answer only after God shows up and assures him in a series of over two hundred questions and declarations that demonstrate the presence of The Holy in creation and in its daily operation. The point being, God is in charge, we can trust him. We can count on all Holy based hope.
Third, It is only the presence of The Holy that stands between despair and hope. To believe the promises of Father, Son, and Spirit, and to be confident they are mine, is what it means to count on hope. Finally, Job reached the point in his encounter with The Eternal Holy, when he found hope to count on. Then Job answered the Lord: “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth” (Job 40:3-4). “I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset your plans (Job 42:1).
Here is my prayer for all who are blessed with experiences that facilitate a hope we can count on.
We do not deserve the grace we encounter. Convict us to be your light to others, to share with them The Holy as the source they can count on for hope in this life and in eternity to come.
And I pray for those whose experiences in life have left them with the impression that hope is useless, those who feel it cannot be counted upon. Holy Father may all encounter evidence of The Holy in the creation and its daily operation. May we all stand as one who discover you as Holy God and learn to trust you with our care. May we all come together under your rule and learn to count on Holy based hope.
In the name of the Holy I Pray.
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection on Can I Count On Hope?