hope – verb \ˈhōp\
: to desire with expectation of obtainment
: to expect with confidence
hope – noun\ˈhōp\
: desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment
: expectation of fulfillment or success
: someone or something on which hopes are centered
There was thunder and lightning, and Grace called from her room.
“Nama, I was just saying my prayers. And I asked God to bring Great-Grandma back. And I asked Him to give me a sign that she was coming. And right then there was this big flash. And . . . she’s coming back!”
No, Grace. That really was just a coincidence. Great-Grandma’s not coming back. She’s in heaven, and she’s happy, and she doesn’t hurt any more. But we’ll get to see her again one day.
“No, Nama. He gave me a sign. She’s coming back.”
How do I argue with that?
Will her faith falter because of a flash of disappointment?
Will her hope hover on the fringe of hallelujah and then fade?
Maybe this morning she’s forgotten and moved on.
But how often do dashed hopes and dreams wound our faith and paralyze us?
We can choose to walk on and trust God to work all things together for good.
Or we can throw down our mat and camp out on the edge of discouragement, on the edge of I-Feel-Sorry-for-Myself Land, and dwell in depression and despair.
We can hang around the edge of the water waiting for someone else to stir things up, someone else to carry us, someone else to raise our hope.
Does God even see us?
One man plopped down (John 5) by the water in the house of mercy. He hung out hopeless for 38 years. Since before Jesus was born.
And Jesus saw him. Fixed His eyes on him out of all the hundreds and asked him if he wanted to get well.
The man didn’t answer, “Oh, yes, please. Could you help me? Could you wait with me until the water moves and carry me in?”
Instead, he whined to the Living Water about not having anyone to put him in the water. He fixed his eyes on others and what they weren’t doing.
Did he find some comfort in his paralysis? Did he see himself as a victim?
He didn’t ask for healing. Did he even want it? Really? Did he find some satisfaction in being needy?
But Jesus in His mercy poured hope over him anyway. “Get up and walk.”
Don’t lie there any more feeling sorry for yourself. Get your act together. Feel my strength flow through you. Get up and move on with your life.
It wasn’t faith that healed him.
It was mercy and grace and compassion.
We all experience disabilities and challenges and limitations and injustice and pain.
Thunder times and dark days.
False signs of hope.
No signs of hope.
We can plop down on our mat and remain paralyzed with our problems, disappointed with life.
Or we can rise up and walk.
We can pass by.
Or we can bend down and help another walk.
Carry them if need be.
We can all choose our focus.
Hopefully we’ll choose hope
Because hope does not disappoint.
Word Count: 496
In the stillness,
With Charity and Holley
Resurrected from the archives and refurbished.