Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.
~ Proverbs 13:12 (NKJV)
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
~ Romans 5:5 (NKJV)
There's lately been more than one cause in my life for me to think on what hope means.
In the movie Shawshank Redemption, a man in prison says, "Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane. It's got no use on the inside."
And so it is. When we feel imprisoned in some way—by jail walls, by a hated but necessary job, by sickness, by rejection, by a stigma wrongfully forced upon us, by conflict in a relationship—hope is dangerous. It opens the door to expectation for change, and we know that life is brutal to expectations.
But without hope, we fail to act as our own catalyst for change. We fail to confront the status quo, telling ourselves "it is what it is." We fail to pursue what we are called to do that painfully stretches us. We fail to chip away at the walls we build around ourselves which have come to feel secure in their dependability and protection from uncertainty.
True hope is not expectation for something specific, like to get a new job, or to change the person we struggle with, or to attain a goal we've set.
True hope says, "This pain, this indignity, this labor—this love—is not in vain. It drives me to be a catalyst for change where change is needed. It drives me to cooperate with the plan God has to bless me and work for good. It allows me to surrender even that which I think I need, because God says to do so, and Faith in His Love gives me Hope for something even better."
Genuine hope does not die. But it does cease, as does faith. 1 Corinthians 13:13 says, "And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
Faith is being certain of the unseen. It finds its fulfillment—and ceases—in the seeing.
Hope is waiting for promised blessing. It finds its fulfillment—and ceases—in the receiving.
Love is greatest. And on the day spoken of in Scripture as That Day, love will no longer wax and wane, but will find complete fulfillment, for love cannot cease.
That is true hope.
"Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well
but the certainty that something makes sense,
regardless of how it turns out."
~ Vaclav Havel
Lord, faith does not fail us when faith is in You. Hope does not disappoint when hope is in You. Love always trusts, love always hopes, and love never fails, for You, Lord God, are love.
Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to BuildingHisBody.com "Comments" or e-mail to BuildingHisBody@gmail.com. Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
Image Source: cenotemexico.com