If you had peered through the windows of my soul last week, you’d have caught me in a familiar and well worn trap called deferred hope. The symptoms of this trap are discouragement and, obviously, feeling hopeless.
I was hoping my strength would escalate after the rotten tooth came out and I would be able to “DO” things I have been yet unable to. A better day, followed by a few rough days of pain and not much sleep crushed those embers of hope, leaving ashes of discouragement in their place. I confess, I moped around like a little bird caught in a snowstorm.
Its funny; I can know what God is teaching me, yet still be flung about emotionally by circumstances He allows to develop the proficiency He has already told me He is building. I recently told a friend that God is developing steadfastness in me regardless of situation. The Psalms mine deep into the recesses of despair yet continually come back to this bedrock. “I will hope in God.” This is where I want my soul to find anchor. Not circumstance, wishful thinking, or tomorrow, but in God and my eternal place in Him.
The highest building that graces the skyline is the one whose foundations began in the dark recesses of the ground. Paul talks about endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. To learn to endure, one must go through circumstances that test endurance. To develop hope that cannot be deferred, one must transfer hope from what might be to what will be and what is – Jesus Himself.
The trap is worn and familiar because I have often stacked my building blocks on hope that something will change or come to pass. When it doesn’t, the structure I erected topples as hope is pulled from underneath. One cannot build something lasting and significant on the wrong foundation. I am learning to dig down to the rudimentary bedrock. I am saved. I am loved by the best Father and He is ALWAYS working for my good, regardless of how I feel. Today is not the end of the story. So I slowly exchange despair in the low times for steadiness that hopes in God not circumstance and the trap gets a little rustier with time.
I still hope I will be completely well. But I am learning to recognize God in the process and see His gifts. I am learning not to pin my hope on uncertain ends, but on God’s complete ability and intention to lead me in victory through any circumstance! I am rejoicing that I have been able to sing for the first time in almost two years. The song at the top right of this post came out of “my time in the trap.”
Embracing hope that endures is like shifting one’s balance off something shaky to something solid. It is a bit tricky to get off the shaky platform without falling, but the steadiness the solid one offers is worth the effort.
“We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3