When our son was about 8 (he’s in his early 20’s now) we gave him a Christmas gift. We actually gave him more than one gift but we didn’t think it through the giving order very well. The first gift he opened was a plain, black zippered bible cover with handles, which to him probably looked like a purse. As you might imagine, he opened his gift with wide-eyed anticipation and then quickly exclaimed, “This is nothing I ever wanted!”
We all laughed, then became responsible parents and told him that was no way to receive a gift even if he didn’t like it and then we let him open the super fantabulous Bible Man Bible next. And then we let him put Batman and Superman stickers all over the leather bible cover to heighten the cool factor. All was well. Christmas was saved. It was exactly what he hoped for but it worked out.
How often in life do we get things given to us that are “nothing I ever wanted”? Things we didn’t hope for? Things we would never in a million years want? But sometimes we get a gift that we didn’t even know we wanted. It usually comes perfectly wrapped up in HOPE.
What does hope mean? What does hope look like? Hope sometimes seems like an illusion. It’s not tangible. It’s not visible. You can’t taste it, smell it and you can’t hear it. Although hope could be wrapped up in one of the five senses, it’s not a physical property. We need constant reminders of hope. We have to look for it and so often that happens through squinted eyes. When we’ve encountered hope we know it, for its presence is unmistakable and undeniable.
Whether we believe in God or not, hope is a part of our lives. Hope is what keeps us going. Hope for a new job. Hope that cancer doesn’t win. Hope for a better car. Hope for a bigger paycheck. Hope for a paycheck. Hope for a better life. Our ability and our need to hope is a package deal with life. We can’t help but hope. It’s in or DNA. But on the occasion that we lose hope, when we stop hoping, we stop living. We can never lose hope and why we must do our best to help others not lose hope as well. Hope is crucial to life.
While hope can’t be seen, touched or felt, it can be expressed. I’d like to share with you five expressions of hope that will always fulfill us as the giver of it and as the receiver of it. Hope is what we always hope for.
Hope is “something we always wanted!” and something worth sharing.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
There are so many women in our world who are being bought. Women shouldn’t be bought. Humans shouldn’t be bought. Women are being taken advantage of because of their weakness rather than being celebrated. It’s an epidemic of epic proportions.
Maybe we can’t fix it, maybe we won’t even do much to change it but we simply can’t sit by and continue to watch it happen without trying.
Have you heard about Dressember? This campaign is giving hope to exploited women around the world. For the rest of the month, ViBella Jewelry is offering a site-wide 10% discount (use the code DRESSEMBER) and they are also donating 10% of your purchase to the Dressember fund. The promotion runs through the end of 2015. This is your chance to triple the hope factor! You get wearable hope with beautiful jewelry from ViBella, the artisans who made it are supported and through the Dressember fund, you give hope to women around the world.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
Is hope right there? Waiting for you? Do you just need to open your heart and accept it? The answer? Yes. Yes, it is right there waiting for you. And yes, you do need to open your heart and receive it.
There was a day recently that I felt particularly hopeless. I simply and desperately cried out to God and said, “God, give me something!” Sometimes we ask for hope but then we don’t see it because aren’t paying attention but my hope that day came in an encouraging email very shortly after my desperate request.
If you don’t have a relationship with the Source of hope that would be a great place to start. You just can’t top hope received from the Source Himself.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only son. That whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
So we’ve received hope, now what do we do with it? We hold on to it for dear life, that’s what. Hope held looks like a scripture that we memorize or the thought of seeing a loved one again in Heaven. Hope held is a friend you can count on to be in it with you. Hope held is that deep clean breath of fresh mountain air that is so refreshing it keeps you from wanting to ever exhale. In a dear friend’s post that I’ve shared here before, Hope for the Perishing, Terri explains that the Hebrew word for hope, teqvah, (the noun) means cord? Hope is the rope that we hold on to. And Jesus is on the other end of that rope. And He will never let go. Hold on to hope!
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
Hope is best shared over across a table or in your sitting room. We share our thoughts, we share our lives, we share our hearts with each other. The expression of hope shared is the community we all desire. It is so comforting to know that someone is in our corner. That someone cares. That our story matters.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25
Hope lived is a choice. It’s the choice of getting out of bed in the morning. It’s the choice to love. It’s the choice to shower and put on makeup. It’s the choice to light the candle. It’s the choice to make the phone call. It’s the choice to do the hard thing you’ve been putting off. Hope is sometimes deciding to take one more step. To show up. To take one more breath. Hope, in the giving, in the receiving, in the holding, in the sharing is hope lived.
If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. 1 Corinthians 15:19
Hope, in all of its seeming elusive properties, is so very real. And so very necessary to this thing we do called life. We simply can’t live without it. One day, we will see Hope in His in all of His glory. We will no longer need the rope. We’ll be face to face with the One who was at the other end.
We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! 1 Corinthians 13:12 (The Message)