Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Hope: God Will Make a Way

(Faces - by Gary Wilson)

For those who feel hopeless today: there is hope.

To access the emotion of hope, draw near to God.

Trust in the Lord with your entire being.
Don't waste time trying to figure out the impossible.
Instead, in all you do today, acknowledge Him.
He will lay out the path before you.

Proverbs 3:4-5 (my translation)

"Hope," writes Miroslav Volf, "is love stretching itself into the future." (Volf, A Public Faith: How Followers of Christ Should Serve the Public Good, Kindle location 978)

Hope is expectation. When I hope, I expect something and prepare for it. And that "something," when it comes to hope, is seen as good. "In our everyday usage, “hope” is, roughly, the expectation of good things that don’t come to us as a matter of course." (Ib.)

Make your focus today God. Expect the unexpected.

Hope is different than optimism. "Optimism has to do with good things in the future that are latent in the past and the present; the future associated with optimism is an unfolding of what is already there. We survey the past and the present, extrapolate about what is likely to happen in the future, and, if the prospects are good, become optimistic." (Kindle Locations 989-991) 

Hope is different. Hope "has to do with good things in the future that come to us from “outside,” from God; the future associated with hope— [Jurgen] Moltmann calls it adventus—is a gift of something new." (Kindle Locations 991-993; emphasis mine)

Hope is about a promise, given to us from God. 

Because God is love, we trust in God's faithfulness. "God then brings about “a new thing”: aged Sarah, barren of womb, gives birth to a son (Gen. 21:1–2; Rom. 4:18–21); the crucified Jesus Christ is raised from the dead (Acts 2:22–36); a mighty Babylon falls and a new Jerusalem comes down from heaven (Rev. 18:1–24; 21:1–5); more generally, the good that seemed impossible becomes not just possible but real." (Kindle Locations 994-996)

God desires to fulfill His desires in you. God is working all things, all things, together for good, in you, today. Linda and I have much experience with this!

Consider yourself a fruit-bearing branch as you connect with Jesus. Now. Today.

Volf writes: "The expectation of good things that come as a gift from God—that is hope. And that is love too, projecting itself into our life and our world’s future. For love always gives gifts and is itself a gift; inversely, every genuine gift is an expression of love. At the heart of the hoped-for future, which comes from the God of love, is the flourishing of individuals, communities, and our whole globe." (Kindle Locations 997-999; emphasis mine)

How does a person become a hope-filled person? By living in constant connection to God. Hopelessness is a dis-ease that breeds outside the house of God. But within God's house, we live close to the heart and voice of God. This is where we hear and receive the multiform promises of God.

Hope does not dwell in the house of fear. (See Henri Nouwen, Lifesigns, where he distinguished between the "house of faith" and the "house of fear.")

Hope is the emotion, as an orientation of my being, that arises in God's presence, where I hear his promises to me, and to us.

My three books are:

Leading the Presence-Driven Church

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God

Encounters with the Holy Spirit (co-edited with Janice Trigg)

After a break I'll continue writing Transformation: How God Changes the Human Heart.

Then: Technology and Spiritual Formation.

Then, the Lord willing, Linda and I will write our book on Relationships.