If your family is like mine, your children composed for you a collection of isms from which you often pull to illustrate a point. Or fondly remember days gone by. Around here, we use our collection regularly. And while I would be delighted to share from the Book of Aymond-isms, for the sake of my relationships with my adult daughters, I am going to show restraint.
With one exception.
When our middle child was not yet the middle child, she added to that little book of isms. My husband and I have repeated it hundreds of times over the last 25 years. Though the details surrounding the formation of this favorite expression are a bit fuzzy, its precious punch has persevered.
Not long after the Christmas of 1995, I asked my three-year-old a question that I can’t recall. I know I asked a question because her response to that long-forgotten query was unforgettable.
“I hope. Because I like Hope.”
Hope was her newest little cousin with whom she had spent just a few hours during Christmas at my mother’s house. And when she used the word hope, she immediately made the connection to the person Hope. Oh, to learn from a three-year-old more often.
Friends, our Hope is a Person.
My heart and mind too often attach my hope to things or circumstances, tying it off with a little algebraic bow. If my bank account is full enough, then I will be okay. If my health is good, then I will be okay. If my person is elected, then things will certainly be better. If my children accomplish X, Y, and Z then they (and I) will be okay. If X, then Y.
But what happens when the bank account zeroes out? Or our health fails? Or our vote doesn’t count enough? Or our children struggle? What happens when that equation isn’t solved? When then doesn’t neatly fall in line with if? What then?
It feels like our hope is a dead end. Because misplaced hope always leads to a dead end.
I know it seems pragmatic to place our hope in these things of this world. I mean this is where we live and breathe, love, and grow. It’s where we experience life. Where we feel and see. Taste and smell. Where we hear all the good things of this earth.
C. S. Lewis may have pegged us all too well.
Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.C. S. LEWIS, THE WEIGHT OF GLORY
Too charmed by this world because we cannot fathom the reality of the next.
Yes. God comes to us through His Spirit to comfort us in our sorrow. Here. He moves us toward the things of God when we need direction. Here. He moves in us and through us. He weeps with us and celebrates with us. Right here.
But our truest reality is not here. Those who have cast their faith upon Jesus — believed in Him and followed Him— have a hope far greater than waiting and wishing. We have a living Hope in the person of Jesus Christ. A Hope with no dead ends, for this Hope conquered death and is now alive.
This same Hope will return to usher, those who have believed and followed after Him, into the presence of the Triune God! Where we will be with Christ. Where we will be like Christ. And while the Gospels promise heaven to be more, what could be better than standing in the presence of a Love so beautiful?! Nothing. No thing.
Because of his (God’s) great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead 4 and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. 5 You are being guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 You rejoice in this,[a] even though now for a short time, if necessary, you suffer grief in various trials 7 so that the proven character of your faith—more valuable than gold which, though perishable, is refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; though not seeing him now, you believe in him, and you rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.1 PETER 1
We have an inheritance that is imperishable. Undefiled. And unfading. Kept in heaven for us. From eternity past to eternity future, Jesus has been and is our living Hope.
If you have that Hope, share it. Live as though your days are numbered, because your days are numbered!
And forgive me, but I cannot end here without asking you a question. Do you have this hope? Do you know this Hope? I would love to have a conversation with you. Email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
May we not be too easily satisfied with mud pies.
Don’t be shy. I’d love to hear your thoughts! Down in the comments ⬇️