I have one.
I learned this [read: stole this] idea from a guy named Dave at Midtown Fellowship. I listened to his sermon today in the car and to be honest, I can’t stop thinking about it. To be fair, if you want to get the whole picture, you’ve got to listen to the first sermon of the series as well. It was the one he preached when I was in Nashville for the weekend. Being that I was there almost a month ago, I think the 2nd sermon was getting a little ripe on my iPod.
Now I’ll be the first to admit (and you’ll be the second to agree) that I totally don’t have a grasp on this whole concept of hope, hope deferred, longings fulfilled, etc. But I’m really wanting to work it out a bit in my mind, and apparently you are along for the ride.
The majority of the information that passed through my ears is lodged somewhere in the “I need God to explain that to me” folder. It was deep stuff.
But what I couldn’t miss, even though I really wanted to, was the idea of where I place my hope. Better said, the multiple places where I insert small amounts of hope. I have, as previously mentioned, an impressive portfolio of hope. A little here, for safety sake, a big amount here because surely that is worthy of hoping in, a few ounces there, etc. Spread it out, sister.
I want to say “I put all my hope in God”, but along with the no cuss words thing, I’ve also vowed not to lie on my blog. I guess the truer statement would be “I wish I put all my hope in God because then life wouldn’t break my heart so easily”.
To put my hope towards something is to depend on that thing. To put that object in a place of honor, saying “YOU are what I have been waiting for. YOU will take away this pain and this heartsickness.” (Prov. 13:12)
It makes me really sad to think of the wide variety of things and people who have received this misplaced worship. Ugh. Yucky.
I’ve had a couple of direct run-ins with some hope holders lately and every time it feels like a steam roller going over my porcelain heart. I can’t give details because I never know which dudes are reading this (hi fellas!), so I won’t say the circumstances. And it’s not just boys- it’s jobs, writing gigs, cities, friendships, bank accounts, all of it. I’m willing to venture that if you are human and you have ever said, “things will be better if this works out”, then you know the exact feeling I’m describing. The one when it doesn’t work out.
Like your hope has been ripped out from under you and your backside is throbbing from hitting the ground with so much force.
I think God lets that happen. So we don’t forget.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you some great story of how I solved this dilemma. It’s not like I can go cold turkey on this. It feels like I’m working to redirect a river. Slowly, one rebuilt bank at a time, I’m channeling my hope towards God. Because I mean it when I say that I want to want Him more than anything else. And I want Him to be what I hope for. So as each hope holder disappears before my very eyes (or runs in the opposite direction), I build another river bank and send that hope straight down to God.
I think it’s going to be a constant job. I don’t foresee myself withdrawing all the hope from my sundry locations and giving it right to God, though I wish I could. I still allow the world to painfully remind me of why I’m working towards that goal- because NOTHING else will satisfy.
I have a list about fifteen items long of things I think would make my life unbelievably awesome. And God will probably give me all fifteen, and tack on another 4,352 for good measure. Because He is rad. And He’s a giver.
But when it’s all said and done, I will come right back to you and say that it was never enough. No amount of blessings will satisfy. No one will fulfill all my desires. Except Him.
He is my shield, my very great reward. (Gen. 15:1)