Blog Archive

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Hostage to Promise

"All I have seen teaches me
to trust the Creator for all I have not seen."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Photo credit: Jason Erdkamp

Hostage to Promise

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
~ Proverbs 13:12 (NIV)

Hope is my topic for a third time this week as I continue grappling with it. I've thus far spoken of hope as a wish, and hope as confident waiting for a reliable promise to be fulfilled. I sidestepped a third kind of hope. But it couldn't be avoided at Bridget Chumbley's blog carnival.

Hope is safe when placed in the reliable promises of God's Word, in which there can be no disappointment. A post by Tammy beautifully illustrated such hope with the rainbow:
"Christ is Light refracting in the world... the skies testify this Hope like a rainbow-written promise."

Jason Stasyszen compels me to admit to dangerous hope, founded not only on the promise of what will be, but also the promise—the potential—of what can be:
"Hope isn't flimsy, frail, or fragile
Hope is towering, strong and agile ...
I will put my wild hope in this untamed God ..."

Though hope of any kind does not disappoint when it Fully Relies On God (FROG), this dangerous hope—infused with intrepid boldness—risks disappointment, because presumption, self-reliance, and all manner of sin interfere with FROG.

I've lived fearlessly and chased impossible dreams. Enormous disappointments have resulted. At some point I closed my eyes in weariness, allowing the Lord to lead where He desires, a willing captive to hope in no more than His promises of what will be.

He won't let me off so easily. "Untamed God" asks me to put my hand in His, marry my will to His sovereignty, and once again grasp other hope—to remain willing hostage to promise of what can be.

I've yet to open my eyes and peek. But I can't imagine refusing Him.

"Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him."
~ Job 13:15 (NIV)

: : :

Your indulgence is asked for one more mention of hope on Saturday, when I bring together a most unlikely pair: flamboyant OK GO and elegant Maureen Doallas.

I appreciate hearing from you. Questions are welcome. Reply to comments or e-mail me—my address is
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Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
Photo taken by Jason Erdkamp
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  1. "Hope is safe when..." I love that you allude to the thought that putting your hope in anything but God could be an unsafe hope.

    Wild thought.
    ~ Wendy

  2. Isn't there something in the New Testament that references a hope that is sure?

  3. Wendy ~

    I suppose I'm alluding to two kinds of danger, two kinds of "unsafe" hope. It is true danger to hope in things not at all established in God—things of this world, lies of the devil, desires of the flesh.

    But the "dangerous" hope which goes beyond what is promised by God, what will be, and hopes in the possibilities of what He might empower, the promise of what can be, is risky because if of its greater potential for self-will and resulting disappointment. "Danger" lies in that kind of hope only because we're inclined (at least I am) to not hold it without engaging our own will in it; we are inclined to cross a fine line between hoping in what might be and presuming it must be.

    Example: Feeling led to write fiction involves faith in the Holy Spirit's leading and secure hope that "all things work together for good to those who love God." Being published may or may not also be where God is leading. To see the potential for publication (and hope for that possibility) takes risks, such as "publication" going beyond hope and becoming our will, and the presumption that it is also God's will. I'm not good enough, yet, to hold that kind of hope and not slip into such risks. (And this is only one example!)

    Yet it wouldn't be right to allow awareness of my potential for self-will and presumption to deny that dangerous hope altogether, and close my eyes to working toward God might wish to do.

  4. Kelly ~

    Perhaps you're thinking of Hebrews 6:19? "This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil ..."

    The context is our assurance of salvation, and that we are meant to experience blessings associated with eternal salvation in the here and now—and that is the hope which serves as an anchor for our souls in a sea of this world's tempests.

    The context in Hebrews includes these previous thoughts: "Beloved, we are confident of better things ... things that accompany salvation ... And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end ... that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us."

  5. I heard on the radio today a discussion about hope. One commentator said that we mistakenly think hope is 'just sitting around, thinking something good is coming our way." But your retelling of Jason's quote gives it much more life. "I will put my wild hope in this untamed God"

  6. I love this collection of hope! Especially the one in an untamed "wild God".

  7. Not just the blog carnival, but I've been hearing about hope all week from all sorts of places. I'm not just saying this because you mentioned me (which I greatly appreciate- I am honored), but this is one of the best posts I've read this week.

    I have lived fearlessly at times and like you, been so disappointed. I feel the same way: God won't let me off the hook, but I don't want off the hook either. Yes, I've been disappointed but I've also seen the impossible made possible in Him. There is a hunger to see this over and over, to brave the mess, the frustration, and hurt. I know that I know He is doing great things.

  8. I always want to give up, but have way too much hope. I'm glad to live in that kind of world. ;)

  9. David ~

    I understand what the radio commentator is saying. I'm experiencing the opposite problem. I'm taking action, but my heart's not in it, lest my heart become the self-will that's crashed past hopes. (I really am grappling with all of this right now, if you couldn't tell ...)

  10. Tammy ~

    Thanks for stopping in! I LOVED your post. It gave me an entirely new way to see Ezekiel 16 and rainbows and Jesus.

    If you didn't read it yet, Jason's whole post is another knockout:
    Hope Is Wild

  11. Jason ~

    It is a good thing to not want to be let off the hook. I want to be the kind of living sacrifice that really is dead to self, willingly leaping upon the altar and baring my neck for the blade without regard for what the Lord does. I am confident that everything He does is great, and that it will be greater yet if I can keep my will out of it.

  12. T ~

    You go, girl! Keep your hope centered in the right Person, and

  13. So many wise and wonderful words about hope. I am blessed to be part of the carnivals and all of your lives. Thanks, Anne.

  14. Bridget ~

    This was the most challenging and inspiring carnival you've hosted yet. At least for me. Thanks again for your part in it! :D

  15. My hope is totally in Jesus, always and forever.He is my hope.

  16. Denise ~

    He is the very best place to hope ... and sometimes takes the longest to fulfill it.


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