Monday, July 09, 2007

To hope

Way back a little more than a couple of decades ago, I was deep in the process of applying to various colleges. I had no clear idea of which college to attend, so I made application to several across my state and then waited to see if and how the scholarship money fell. One college I applied to was a private school which at that time admitted a freshman class of only 500.

The application for this particular university was unique in that it went well beyond the usual GPA and test scores. No, I had to give three adjectives that described me as well as answer other less objective type questions. One of the more difficult items included a empty space on the application sheet, maybe a three or four inch square, with the instructions: Fill this box with something that is important to you.

This was a dilemma for me, as I have zero creativity. I couldn't draw a picture or post some song lyrics I'd written or anything like that. I guess I could've posted a picture of my boyfriend, as that along with graduating already were the most important things in my life at the time. Not exactly a deep thinker then, or now.

Well, I got the inspiration to fill the box with a Bible verse. I have the distinct memory of flipping through my Bible in search of a verse to copy down. Though "in church" my whole life, I don't recall having a favorite verse or a life verse or anything like that. I was just looking for a verse that would make sense in a little three inch square space on a long college application.

Here is the verse I decided upon:
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Heb. 11:1
I've been thinking of this verse, more specifically the phrase: "being sure of what we hope for." I've heard "hope" defined in its Biblical context as "anxious expectation." Being sure. Having confidence. Believing. Anxiously awaiting in full expectation. Faith and hope wrapped up together.

Sometimes I mistake "wishing" for "hoping." When I wish for something, I am unsure if it will come to pass or not. I sure want it to, I fear that maybe it won't, but I wish it will. By way of example, we've wished for rain: maybe, just maybe, it will rain, we sure hope so. We had no clear expectation it would (although it has, and is now as I type), our hope was merely an expression of our desire.

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for." Faith is the key: believing God and knowing He is faithful to do just as He says. Because our God is God, we can trust Him. We can know His promises are as good as accomplished, and we can hope in anxious expectation, waiting on Him in assurance and anticipation. He not only can, He will!

I've told you before I'm not sentimental. I rarely cry, unless fatigued or stressed. However, the other night I was moved to tears, this time not by fatigue nor stress, but by hope...

Hope...not in a person nor in a circumstance nor in an expectation, but hope in my God, He who is faithful to hear and to answer, He who has promised to be good to those who wait on Him. He is our hope: Christ in you, the hope of glory.

I had been wishing for several things, but it was a wishing full of doubting and certainly not believing. As great as was my desire, my doubts were even greater. As my eyes were opened to fullness of hope, I was immediately convicted of my lack of faith: Help me believe! Overcome my unbelief!

Let us rejoice in our God, our hope! He is good to those who hope in Him! Let us wait on Him, in anxious and joyful expectation, eagerly anticipating that which we cannot yet see. What He has promised, that will He do...

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Rom. 15:13

7 comments:

  1. I am so uplifted by reading your blog. You are an inspiration by your honesty and thoughtful words.

    ~lisa~

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  2. WOW, Lisa....

    I am filled with hope...thank you for these words today...I don't cry easily either...ha...

    Love, MdA

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  3. I can't even begin to tell you how important this post is to me today. My husband and I are waiting for something (job/ministry related) and doing our best to do it with "anxious and joyful expectation, eagerly anticipating..."

    Yesterday I was praying for a little encouragement in our wait and God answered that prayer. I just finished a post about that and was visiting some blogs when I came to this post. It speaks directly to our situation.

    Thank you for taking the time to write this today.

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  4. I too have been captivated by the concept of Biblical hope. I wrote this in March. It mirrors your post in many ways.

    http://lovewell.blogspot.com/2007/03/spring-cometh.html

    Thanks for reminding me of the hope God offers. His grace and mercy are overwhelming. And just think -- He's only getting started.

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  5. This was just beautiful!

    I often confuse wishes with hope..Most often my wishes have to do with temporal things and yet my hope has to remain fixed in knowing the Unseen is completely in control of the seen. What confidence we can find in knowing He is thinking good thoughts towards us and is working to bring about our absolute best!

    My prayers have evolved over the years into, "God, just make me desire what you desire".

    Thank you for sharing this from your heart...you are so gifted!

    The Other Lisa ;)

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  6. Oh heavens, I SO needed to hear this tonight. Thank you.

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