I keep coming back again and again to this word. I’m not really sure why. I felt God whisper it into my spirit a little over two years ago as my word for 2015. It turned out to be an anchor for my soul that year, as we began the lengthy and emotional process of pursuing adoption. I took a highlighter to every phrase or scripture or sentence that mentioned hope and guzzled the truth of it down like water. I wrote an entire blog series on what I was learning about hope that fall. It began to grow hands and feet and meat and bones and come to life as a powerful thing for me that year. And only God knew how much I would need to hang on tight to hope with my clenched fists.
Lately, I haven’t always wanted to see reminders of hope though. To be honest, it’s been easier to push hope down and close my ears to her whispers of remembrance. She feels pesky, and I don’t want to listen. I want to go on with the details of my life without feeling the pain of unmet desires that she often brings.
But now, a year and a half later, I still can’t seem to shake this pesky little friend, Hope. And even though she feels irritating at times, if I’m honest with myself, I’m glad she’s stuck around. I have reminders of her on our walls, on my phone, in conversations. She keeps popping up everywhere.
You will forget your misery; you will remember it as waters that have passed away. And your life will be brighter than the noonday; its darkness will be like the morning. And you will feel secure, because there is hope; you will look around and take your rest in security. ~Job 11:16-18
Hope is the joyful anticipation of good. ~from sermon notes on January 10, 2016
There’s an episode of Friends (‘how you doin’?’) where Phoebe and Monica try to ‘freeze out’ an annoying friend. As they come up with a plan for cutting her out of their lives, it becomes apparent that Phoebe once tried to do the very same thing, unsuccessfully, to Monica.
Hope is basically Monica for me. No matter what I’ve tried to do – ignore her reminders, stay busy, tick through life like a checklist, push all-the-feelings about adoption and the waiting process deep down inside – she just keeps clawing her way back in. She’s scrappy like that.
Maybe you can relate.
Do you feel like you can’t keep up, can’t measure up, can’t do all the things that need to be done? It would be so much easier to throw up your hands and give up. Hope is that voice that comes up behind you and says, “You need to know that it won’t always be like this.”
Do you feel like you’re teetering on the edge of burn-out, running on adrenaline and your 16th cup of coffee by 11:00am? You just can’t handle one more person putting one more thing on your plate or you’ll snap.
Is your soul bone-tired and in need of a shot of courage? And yet even the thought of courage seems laughable right now. Courage takes work…and you’re tired.
Are you in a season of waiting that seems unending? You’re sick and tired of answering the question in everyone’s eyes with one more ‘not yet.’
Everything in you says the easiest thing would be to tell Hope to shove it, to move on to someone else who has the energy to give a rip right now. And so you do. You slam the door in her face. But somehow, SOMEHOW, that scrappy little voice of Hope claws her way back in, comes up behind you and says, “You need to know that it won’t always be like this.”
Sometimes, that’s all Hope is…the tiniest glimmer. That little spark that says, ‘It won’t always be like this. This too shall pass.’
Against all odds. Against all discouragement. Against all the endless waiting and sameness of whatever season you find yourself in. THIS TOO SHALL PASS.
Because hope…she’s a scrappy little thing. She’ll claw her way back in even when we try to cut her out so we can wallow in our sorry. Been there, done that.
One of the definitions of ‘scrappy’ is ‘inclined to fight.’ It’s humorous, really. Because if that’s true, and hope really is scrappy, then that means that she’s inclined to fight. Sometimes it feels like she’s fighting against you…and all you want is for her to go. away. already.
But really, hope is inclined to fight for us. She’ll fight through the discouragement, the exhaustion, the weariness, the unending sameness to bring courage to our hearts and remind us that it won’t always be this way. That Christ is for us. That we are not forgotten, but we are wildly loved.
And the truth is that hope that’s built on Christ, built on the Truth…well, she’s more than scrappy. She’s downright victorious.
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