Hope has been a rather elusive creature lately. As soon as I think I have it in my grasp, it wriggles around and slides right through the grip of my fingers. And then somewhere during the day, it turns up hidden in a corner where I try to snatch it up, only to find it has vanished yet again.
Hope can be a funny, fickle sort of thing, well, let me clarify; not so much hope itself, but more so what we put our hope in.
We live in a world where shiny things are always in front of our face—a click away—and close at hand. We can so very easily place our hope in so many things other than where it should be set.
And meanwhile, in our search for the newest, shiniest place to set our hope, there is someone observing closely all along. We have an Enemy who prides himself on hope-stealing. He knows our weaknesses well and in the book of Peter we’re warned that he is “prowling around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.”
He’s looking for ways to devour us now, and I would bet that 99% of the time he wants to start his munching on our heads. He locks his unforgiving jaws around our minds and slowly begins the devouring process. He snakes his way into our thoughts, reminiscent of that old serpent talking to Eve way back when, and steals the hope that is rightfully ours.
This is his M.O.
What is my hope in?
This hope-stealing enemy climbs into our minds when we’re discouraged, when we’re weak—he does not play nice and wait for the storm to pass. Unfortunately, our own desires don’t help a whole lot either. The combination can make placing and keeping hope where it needs to be very difficult. Not impossible, but yes, difficult, especially in times when hope seems hard to hold onto.
This year has been stormy, to put it mildly, and since hope has seemed like a distant dream I knew I was in need of a hope inventory. Oh, how I’ve found how easily my gaze is shifted from heaven’s gate to the marshland of my earthly dwelling place!
I have been grasping for hope in so many places:
My health; which will most certainly one day fade.
My new home; which will one day be old and decay.
My family; which are only human.
The hope of life returning to “normal”; quite frankly, we are never promised normal.
The hope of sunny days; and it’s always bound to rain…
Hoping in Him
It’s not that I’m saying we shouldn’t enjoy these things in our lives and hope for them, it’s just that we stumble when we put our hope in them.
I have made the mistake so many times of putting my hope in places that crumble and people that are mortal—myself included—and how disappointed I’ve been.
In this world we live in there is what seems like non-stop pain and hurt. How many can attest to that right now? Most, I would assume, and often our Enemy is close by to quickly point out that God is to blame.
Because of this, it’s easy to bring our hope a little closer to our earthly abode. Hoping in what we can do, where we can go, and our own mortal abilities to make a change. Because at least we have control this way, right?
When in reality our hopeful gaze needs to be turned back to the cross. Hope was completely guaranteed over 2,000 years ago on an old wooden cross. Bloodstained and burdened, this cross, and more importantly the man that was upon it, brought about all the hope we could ever need.Hope was completely guaranteed over 2,000 years ago on an old wooden cross. Bloodstained and burdened, this cross, and more importantly the man that was upon it, brought about all the hope we could ever need.Click To Tweet
When we neglect our time with the provider of our very soul, the giver of our life, we wither on the vine. And again, our Enemy is close at hand to remind us why we shouldn’t be hoping in him at all.”Look at the pain,” he whispers, “Where is he now?” He sneers. “He’s not doing anything to help,” is the chorus he sings as we shift our hope from Him to something movable and uncertain.
Where hope is found
There is a bible verse in Jeremiah that I just love, it grounds me when I’m on a hope hunt for some new, shiny thing.
Thus says the Lord,
“Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths,
Where the good way is, and walk in it;
And you will find rest for your souls.’ Jeremiah 6:16
When we’re grasping for that elusive hope creature all we have to do is return to the ancient path, the one where our savior walks. Right where Jesus died and rose for us.
True and lasting hope is what Jesus gave the day he rose up from out of the grave.
Real hope came out of the darkest imaginable place; death. And through it, he gave us hope. It is ours. No one—not even that ol’ serpent—can take it.
Our hope is solid though we can’t see it just yet
There are so many things that we can’t see visibly other than the effect they cause:
We know there’s wind because we see it move in the trees.
We believe the sun is still present even when covered by clouds.
Love is apparent because of the actions of others.
And even our enemy is real because of the pain we see and feel in the world.
Real hope isn’t all that different. I believe authentic hope is greatest when you can barely see at all because this is where faith works the best. Very, very often the biggest faith is won through the darkest, hardest battles. This is where we come to the end of ourselves and any false hope we may have been holding onto.
Genuine hope is different than a wish, a happy thought, or some desire for a certain event. Tangible hope is grounded in a truth that is so much bigger than any reality we see in front of us. It is trusting in someone who sees the whole picture that we could never possibly see.
When we are deeply rooted in God’s abundant grace, clinging to the truth he whispers our way, even the most tempestuous storm and insidious lies of the enemy can not steal our hope. As it says in Jeremiah; this is where we will find rest for our souls—our weary tired souls.
As always, friend, thank you for stopping by,
M @ In Beautiful Chaos says
“He’s looking for ways to devour us now, and I would bet that 99% of the time he wants to start his munching on our heads. He locks his unforgiving jaws around our minds and slowly begins the devouring process. He snakes his way into our thoughts, reminiscent of that old serpent talking to Eve way back when, and steals the hope that is rightfully ours.”
I love the way you write! I read a lot of bloggers, but you have a different gifting, a special gifting. You have a gift for being real and putting into words what so many of us wish we could. Your post also reminded me of the We The Kingdom song “Don’t Tread On Me.” I wrote a post about the song and made a video for it a few months back. If you’re interested in checking it out, you can find it here: https://www.inbeautifulchaos.com/the-battle-belongs-to-the-lord/ .
M @ In Beautiful Chaos
Susan McIlmoil says
This is such an amazing compliment. Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement. I’ll head on over and check out that post for sure!
Donna Reidland says
I love that passage in Jeremiah, too. There truly is only one sure foundation, one person in whom to place our hope!
Susan McIlmoil says
Ava James says
I love hope, such a powerful word that can spur us on in our darkest day. Thanks for your encouragement!
Susan McIlmoil says
Ava, Thank you for stopping by!