For a few months now, I’ve been struggling to write, at least anything new that’s been on my heart. This isn’t because I don’t have the inspiration, but more because I’m finding it harder to express this overwhelming relationship with Father, with Abba, in human terms. Attempting to write these things in a coherent, understandable way seems quite the feat. When I’ve attempted to write lately, I quickly realize that I’m only scratching the surface of what I desire to express. To explain one concept would require expounding on a dozen others, and the more straightforward I attempt to write, the higher the risk of misunderstanding. I’ve attempted to write some recently in a way that would leave an opening for further consideration on one’s own terms, but this too seems to fall woefully short of my intent.
As I’ve been discussing this more with Father, he seems to keep asking me a question. As I tend to do, I’ve answered this question in a more prepackaged format, then continued on my way. Yet, every time I’ve fallen short in my pursuits, the question reoccurs and I begin to understand a little more what God is asking me.
The question – Why are you trying to explain these thoughts that may not be possible to put into words?
My answers have ranged from “others should know these things,” to “if they don’t understand, they may lose faith,” and even “isn’t it my responsibility to communicate these things?”
After allowing me to ponder my conclusions for awhile, it seems God expressed something along the lines of – Why are you trying to express spiritual things in written, or even spoken, words? Like always, I didn’t quite get this on first pass; it was only through much trial and error that I began to understand little by little.
So what does this have to do with hope, and am I making the same mistake by trying to explain it again? Hopefully not ;). This isn’t so much trying to explain the semantics as just discussing how I’ve come to know it through much difficulty and fumbling.
I’ve always been a fairly logical person, even before I understood that I was. Because of this, I’ve always felt out of place in most settings, especially religious ones. I struggled with doubt. I never understood the concept of hope because it always seemed more like wishful thinking to me. I struggled endlessly with questions that, even when I asked, I got more prepackaged, if not backhanded, responses. Questions became dangerous for me and often got me into more trouble than they seemed to be worth. That being, I never got answers and I was chastised for being doubtful, unfaithful, deceived, etc….even if it was in a “nice” way.
In other words, I never had any hope of becoming a real Christian, but this was more because I was instructed to place hope into faulty or fallible ideals. Standards of belief were mandated to me, and if I couldn’t uphold them, I was at fault. Part of the reason I state these things in such a manner here is that others I’ve come across have given up on God altogether because of being presented with this type of dichotomy. My hope is that some of these expressions will resonate with those that may have given up long ago, and they can begin to discover God who loves them more than they were ever taught was possible. No box that we construct by our human means can contain God’s love—including my own box of logic.
However, logic hasn’t been a completely bad thing for me, but it could only take me so far. After that, I had to rely more heavily on faith, hope, and love. For the most part, I got love, though God continues to expand on that concept daily. I even understood faith to an extent, at least as it pertains to confidence in things unseen. Until recently though, hope had still been a less solidified concept for me.
I’d placed hope, as wishful thinking, into many things in my life. I hoped that I would be successful, find a job, get married, have kids, etc…. Most of these were well within my control though, and it seemed most “successful” people didn’t rely on this type of wishful thinking to obtain their objectives—they did what was necessary to accomplish their goals.
I hoped also that I would get into Heaven, that I’d checked off enough boxes, that I’d confessed all my sins, that I was good enough, that God would understand my heart….that God was really good. These were more of a wishful thinking type of hope though—“hope” that I wasn’t caught at a bad moment and then lost for eternity.
So for a long time, I journeyed without real hope, at least as I’ve come to know it now. As stated before, logic took me to a certain point, but it seems where logic ended, hope began for me. As the Holy Spirit continued to widen the walls of the box I’d constructed, my concept of hope expanded. Hope in God was the assurance of his plan, his love, his promises—all this exceeded the limits of logic and knowledge though.
But how do I explain these things? I think the current answer for me is—I don’t. I live with the hope Father has shown me, and try to reach others where they’re at—not to convince them of my ways or that I’m right, but to show them through this hope how much Father also loves them.
I know this may fall woefully short of an explanation, but that is also the point. Where logic, knowledge, and understanding reach their limits, hope continues on to new depths. Now I would say, instead of hoping that Jesus doesn’t catch me at my worse moment, my hope is that Jesus always catches me at my worst. He understands my heart, he always lovingly picks me back up when I fall, and he never gives up on me. For me, that is hope worth holding on to!