The Give and Take of Hope

hope“Why would God give me hope just to take it away?”

I’ve heard it often, and it’s usually in a painful moment. Someone who wanted children so badly was finally pregnant, only to suffer the death of an infant. Someone who had struggled to get on track financially finally gets a job that will provide, only to get hurt and not be able to continue working as the bills pile up. Someone connects with a lifelong partner after a long wait and much pain, only to find out they’ve been deceived and cheated yet again.

In each situation, there is hope, and that hope seems to be trampled on and destroyed.

But hope isn’t about circumstances. We often put our hope in the wrong things. We claim our hope is in God, but then it begins to slide toward hope in what God can provide, what He’s willing to give us. Our hope is in our children, our jobs, our marital status, our financial security, and so on. We claim God provides when those areas of our lives are going well. We are hopeful, because it’s easy to have hope when things are going well by our own perspective, either now or just around the corner. But that hope can easily deflate when things get troubling…when we’ve displaced our hope.

Hope isn’t the same as hype. Hope is enduring, underlying, and chronic. It’s not in what we can see and plan. It’s in God. It’s trust. It’s faith. Pain doesn’t erase it. It can certainly surround it with fog temporarily. But hope still shines.

Our ability to see the sunlight doesn’t determine whether or not the sun shines. Our ability to have hope doesn’t depend on what we can see, understand, and plan.

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