It’s a short word, just four letters. h … o… p… e
According to Webster the definition of hope is:
to cherish a desire with anticipation
to desire with expectation of obtainment
to expect with confidence and trust
to hope without any basis for expecting fulfillment
I like the first three. Cherish, anticipation, desire, expectation, and confidence. Yes, those words sit well with me.
The fourth definition feels like a set up. Why bother to hope if I can’t anticipate obtaining what I hope for? That seems useless and cruel.
I have heard the following comments recently about holding hope and uncertainty.
“We will have the biopsy results for you in a week.”
“You will know whether the surgery was successful after several weeks of healing.”
“Their marriage is very fragile. It may not survive the stress and trauma.”
“God could heal him but it isn’t looking promising.” We can hope, but his condition may stay the same. It’s important to make plans for how life will be for you if he doesn’t change.”
“We hoped the family intervention and her willingness to get help would last. It seems she’s regressed back to the addiction.”
Here is where I am talking about life. I am holding hope for things that impact the core of my life, health issues, and stable marriages. There are difficult decisions about how to navigate the seemingly impossible tragedies of people I care about. Sometimes hope is thrown around lightly yet when carrying it through those uncertain days it feels like a rock around my neck sure to drown me. Am I supposed to hope without expecting a good outcome in these hard places?
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
“Yes”, I realize I am supposed to hold hope. And “No”, I don’t always do it well. I have some journals I keep very private. In them I scream at God through written words, challenging His answers to my hoped-for. The writings have a familiar pattern. The entry begins with strong words, slashes across the page, lots of capital letters, and defiant demands. This is my adult version of a tantrum as oppose to kicking my legs, thrashing my arms and screaming like a toddler.
At some point when my ranting has wrung me out, I come back to God to surrender. Sometimes it takes longer than others. I remember He is in control. I can think back to times when God didn’t give me what I longed for. He gave me something better. I also remember times when He didn’t give me my longing. Those places are hard but they give me an opportunity to grow in my faith and to trust when that is all I have left after God says “no.”
“The biopsies are benign!” is one God recently answered as I hoped. I’m waiting on the answers to others.
I long to hope and wait well. I may need my journal in the process. Yet for me it is kinder to accept where I am and know God is with me in my waiting. How about you? What are you hoping for today? I trust that you, too, will know that God is with you in your hoping.
Valerie Avery treasures the journey of embracing all God has gifted her with including creating art and beauty using fibers, beads and nature. The bond of 46 years of marriage has created a legacy as mother to 5 and “Grammie” to 20. She is venturing into the world of writing and is grateful for a place to share stories of growth and hope. You can read more here.