This morning I prayed for the courage to move beyond wanting to hoping.
I don’t want to forget this. Staying in wanting seems more safe. Hoping means trusting in what is unseen, and is hard, and is scary, because then it seems like there is greater chance of disappointment.
Do you see that?
I would chose the bitter aching emptiness of wanting, with certain disappointment, over believing in that which I cannot see–anticipation, joy, hope, but with a quiet nagging fear that there may be disappointment.
Faith is not easy. If it were, we wouldn’t need to be so exhorted toward it. But of this world, of this flesh, there is no hoping: there is only wanting. What testament is it to be a people of hope? Delighted anticipation for that which cannot be logically foreseen?
I said, “God, look; I don’t want to attribute to You what isn’t from You. Just because I want it, doesn’t mean You promised to give it to me.” And this is true; God never promised you that you would win the lottery, no matter how much you wanted it. But, self, what about the opposite? What if God did say it–what does it mean, then, if you stay in the wanting instead moving forward in trust to the hoping? God tells you a good and true thing, a thing that could lead to much rejoicing and anticipation, and then you go and chose to stay in the empty aching bitterness? Because certain disappointment is somehow less risky than possible disappointment?
Why is it that when we are most struggling we are most afraid of hoping? It’s a mind-crunching conundrum.
But God’s yes is yes. The fear is not that oopsy, God can’t do as He said or that He tried but just couldn’t quite pull it off. Maybe the fear is partly from wondering if it really was God we heard, or our own deceitful heart. But I think more than anything, the fear really is from the bluff being called: do you really believe that God is real? Will you really act as though God is real? If God isn’t really real, you could be setting yourself up for a whole lot of hurt; are you sure it’s worth it?
But what is the testament of living in hope? In anticipation? God is really real; I stake my life and my tender heart on that, and I will not be disappointed. The world doesn’t know that; the world cannot know that. But there is a cloud of witnesses, and angels are looking into these things.
God, grant me the courage to move beyond wanting, and to walk out steadfastly upon hoping. Let me defy this world with hope. Let me extol Your name with hope. Let me be a demonstration of the things they know not. And let me understand in my deepest self that this is not about me, or my wants–but about You, and Your power, Your certainty, Your glory, and how our earnest expectation bears witness to You in a way that mere words cannot.
. . . For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. . .