Hope

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!

14 thoughts on “Hope

  1. John!

    What a fantastic post!

    I’m thinking that most of us have been where you are, have experienced what you are talking about… more than once in many cases; you are NOT ALONE!

    A wise professor once told me that spiritual things tend to ebb and flow. The flowing is more fun, but we grow and learn in the ebbs, for when there is a ebb, we are forced to trust Him, to have faith in Him and depend upon Him, and you’ve done a fine job of expressing that.

    We are all praying for you John, and what’s more, we are all here if and when you want to talk to someone who has been there, by whatever means.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “my hope is that Jesus always catches me at my worst.” John, trying to explain the unfathomable is – well, difficult at best. And this statement of yours seems to explain the unrestricted trust and hope we have in His all-embracing grace, and in the gift of our inheritance of eternal life with Him.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Logic can be a bummer! I was told by someone once: you do realise being a perfectionist is a heavy burden? I took it seriously and have become much less so over the years since.

    What I think is fab about this post is simple: hope by the bucketful!

    You mean to say that I don’t have to understand it all, prove it all, have it all figured out … ? Well thank the Lord for that! 🙂 And you are right – if I see that – others will see it.

    In the meantime – I have been wallowing in Mark Knopfler of late – his musical creativity (and that of the band – and all so young!) moves me to some very far away spiritual realms – and I dinna wanna come back!! No words!

    Especially for you –

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Paul! I’m starting to find that relief of not needing to have it all figured out, and even better, not having to logically prove it. I’ve come to realize that everyone has their beliefs and can back them up logically if need be, but that may not get us far in relationship. To be able to know what I’ve been shown while loving others who may not agree is a beautiful thing and alleviates the need to relate on terms of belief structures. Even within my own beliefs, I’ve seen about a dozen different viewpoints in the past week or so on the same topic, all with valid scriptural backing to prove their stance.

      I also have a lot of music that I listen to if I need to get away, but my wife and I are more rockers, to the surprise and dismay of most we know :D. This is probably one of my favorites, considering I was listening to this back ~2000 (when I was 19), and it can have a fairly deep meaning – https://youtu.be/jSedXGIH6CM

      Like

      • I love that line “God gave rock and roll to you.” 🙂 Metallica are a little off my radar ear-wise. But what confuses me is the “surprise and dismay” you mention. I can get as close to my Father listening to all sorts of music – and often closer than the “God is great” tunes that are acceptable to the “most”.

        And I remember shedding beliefs like dead skin a year or two back. Are you sure Lord? Yep. And what about this one? Nope don’t need that either. Eventually I felt quite naked. The odd thing tho – it was so less stressful! And then I started to see Love much more. Instead of “do our beliefs mesh” – that was not relevant almost ever. So Love became much more visible. Now if you want to diss love – then I will sadly walk away. Much else – not really.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yep, I’ve come to these same conclusions over the past few years. When I first became more dedicated to a local congregation here, I deleted hundreds of dollars worth of music and threw away many CDs and DVDs because they were not strictly Christian. After many conversations with God that sound similar to yours, I eventually repurchased some of the music and movies that I missed. Likewise, I found entirely new personal meanings to some of the songs and scenes and had several “ah ha” moments when I realized what God had been trying to show me for several years prior.

          It’s a beautiful journey, but it can be a bit disheartening at times when those I’ve known my entire life now view me as wayward and backslider. But, I’m learning to live with it and love them anyways, and not because I have to, but because I want to. I’m beginning to see their individual pain and fears and God is showing me how to embrace them in that one at a time.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I have had a few rerun-ins with music and musical stuff over the years. None of it to do with church – and all of it to do with me. There was a conversation ages ago between some of us – about how “outriders” and those on the periphery of “God stuff” serve a purpose. Maybe to allow others to see the depth and breadth God invites, maybe to allow others to broaden their own comfort zones in relationship with the Lord and each other, or maybe just because any average of anything flatten the pluses and minuses into one uniform number – the reality being a diverse range of “numbers”.

            Recently I was talking with someone who is a leading figure in “church life” and “church worship” over decades. They told me that – despite appearances – they had never considered themselves “to belong” – they had always felt they were missing something important/critical in their relationship with their Lord. I found that really sad.

            Yet I am profoundly grateful – that someone that involved with church is able to share their vulnerability. And we have since begun to grow a more intimate sharing of God stuff. If you knew my “attendance” and the “questions” I pose of these wonderful people (and all the while still rarely attending a Sunday service) – it continues to surprise me that I am accepted (kind of) and still viewed as part of the church (kind of). I have no neat explanation for that. Other than this (maybe) –

            “I’m beginning to see their individual pain and fears and God is showing me how to embrace them in that one at a time.”

            For me, it is when I distance myself from my own fears and pain – when I have the answers – that I also distance myself from our Father and those He lives within. And just like you – more and more I am finding it is “one at a time” every time.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Beautiful Paul! I believe creating that safe place around me so others can just breath, so others can just catch their breath, is where God is calling me now. But that creation is sooooo much easier said than done and takes a lot of patience on my part as God works out those details.

              Liked by 1 person

Thoughts and questions are precious ...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s