Hope Unswervingly

San Francisco, CA
San Francisco, CA

It’s against my nature to hope for things. I was raised to analyze facts, statistics and data, calculate a potential result, analyze that result and then still never fully put faith in the final solution.

It seems illogical to get your “hopes up” for something that may not come about. Statistically speaking there aren’t any certainties, so why hope for things?

But, last night I was reading 1 Corinthians 13 and, while I’m normally enraptured by the verses everyone remembers, “love is patient, love is kind…” this time my attention was grabbed by the very end of the verse:

“Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly.”

Trust God? Ok, I can do that. Love people? Ok, working on that. Hope unswervingly? WHAT.

I literally muttered, under my breath, “Why?”

Why does God command that we hope (and not only just hope, but hope UNSWERVINGLY)?

Hoping is dangerous. It puts you in a place of trusting the uncertainty of life. When you hope, it generally means there’s something out of your control. We hope for success, for things to go in the direction of our favor. We hope things work out, or that we’ll figure out a solution to an overwhelming problem.

The only issue is, these things will fade. They’ll break our heart. They’ll hurt us and make us never want to hope in anything, again.

This week has been kind of a hard one for me. A lot of personal things have come up that I thought had been dealt with in the past, but resurfaced, resulting in a lot of confusion and chaos.

But, while I’m praying and crying and trying to figure out things, I’ve continually been pointed to the idea of hoping in impossible things. For the first couple of days I thought, “No, I need something that will actually HELP me through this.”

But it kept coming, again and again: Hope.

I’ve never really realized how many bible verses there are about hope, but to save you the trouble of looking – there are a lot.

And after reading a few of them today, I noticed something. God doesn’t tell us to hope in or about things. He tells us to hope in Him, to find rest in Him, to know Him.

While I’m running around wondering how I’m expected to trust people, trust situations; hope in impossible endings, or extend impossible forgiveness, God says, “Put your hope in me.”

Like a lot of people, the Psalms are some of my favorite pieces of poetry.

In Psalm 42 we read “The prayer of someone who is in exile.”

This is one of my favorite chapters, because it’s raw and it’s human. In it the author talks about the emotional rollercoaster of leaning on God, and then remembering the past. They talk about heartbreak, they talk about “waves of sorrow” and questioning whether God has forgotten about them. In a nutshell, this has been my week.

But then, at the very end comes:

“I will put my hope in God,

And once again I will praise him,

My savior and my God.”

Life has a way of kicking us in the face. And I mean broken nose, blood and cracked bones, kicking. It happens to everyone at some point. Part of life is then getting up and still walking forward. But sometimes, if you’re really lucky, you’re also faced with having to forgive the beating. (Matthew 6:14-15)

As Christians, it’s not suggested – it’s required.

But, it’s not easy. And that’s what I’ve been wrestling with this week. And I do mean WRESTLING. I don’t like being put in vulnerable positions (who does?) I want to be in control of my life, and know what’s going on and when it’s going to happen.

But I don’t always. And even then God tells me to trust him. To hope in the promises that he has given me. To remember the little whispers he told me a year ago, while I was curled up gasping for breath from crying so hard.

It’s hard to hope.

It’s hard to remember.

It’s hard to keep walking, in faith, toward the things God has called us to.

Sometimes it’s with no directions. Sometimes we barely have a path we’re following.

But still he tells us to hope.

I can’t see what the outcome of situations will be. Sometimes I think I’ve got everything handled and in a good place, and then I get slammed with a curve ball like this week. I get knocked down. I get bruised and my heart feels like it’s going to tear in half. But I have to get up, again and again, and keep walking.

Hoping for things is not in my nature. Life is too uncertain. And risking with the potential for failure is against my better judgment.

But God doesn’t call us to hope in the uncertainty of our world. He calls us to hope in the certainty of knowing that when our brokenness, our messed up perceptions of what is happening, hits us hard, threatening to break our resolve, we hold tight to the promise that he will never fail us.

He is a never changing, immovable God who challenges us because He knows, ultimately, that we are so much stronger than we perceive.

So today I’m choosing to hope – not in the uncertain, the broken or the flawed. But in a Father who promises his presence when it’s time to find beauty in those things, and rise again.

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